It was hard to know where to bite. It was no bigger than a tennis ball, yet there were too many hues of red, yellow and green to name - a veritable globe that fit perfectly in my hand. The skin reflected light. I rubbed the orb on my shirt. It now
It was hard to know where to bite.
It was no bigger than a tennis ball, yet there were too many hues of red, yellow and green to name – a veritable globe that fit perfectly in my hand. The skin reflected light. I rubbed the orb on my shirt. It now radiated color, making it all the more difficult to bite.
I picked a spot near the stem, feeling as much as hearing the crunch. A chunk of white meat snapped from the core. I go for big bites, not nibbles. That’s the way to experience an apple. That introduction should be an explosion of flavor. Sometimes it can be a disappointment, a mushy mouthful or worse, rotten. It’s at those times you wish you hadn’t taken such a big bite.
My kids know my passion for apples. At an early age they learned not to hand me an apple to be passed to a sibling because it could be missing a bite.
I was reminded of that when opening a birthday gift from my daughter Diana. She told me to wait until Ted and his family were present to celebrate the occasion. This was a gift to be shared. I waited until we were together and pulled a box with a picture of three apples – one with a big bite missing – from the wrapping. Inscribed above the photo was “Apples to Apples.”
Erica, my daughter in-law, knew instantly what it was – the game “Apples to Apples,” only this was a version Diana created for me using Rhode Island and family items. One set of cards contained adjectives ranging from beautiful, sassy, innocent, vile and awesome to yummy, mature and heroic, while the second set, which Diana compiled, had the names of dogs that have been members of the family, sports, places we’ve visited and Rhode Island icons including quahogs, potholes, the airport sculpture, Benny’s and Dels.
We were each dealt five name and item cards face down with the exception of the dealer who turned over an adjective card. The other players then selected from their cards what they thought best matched the adjective passing that card face down to the dealer. The selections made for some funny combinations and considerable agreement and disagreement over the choices. The player with the adjective selected what he or she thought was the best match, giving the player selected a point. The next player then got to pick an adjective and select the match. The player to first get five matches between adjective and item was the winner.
Clearly my passion for apples was taking a twist. I would have never imagined my daughter would find a way of connecting it to a game.
It’s a time of year for surprises with its summer-like days, still cool nights, dark blue skies, bright yellows and reds and abrupt drop of leaves. I stopped at Morris Farm to admire and photograph the pumpkins and, of course, inquire whether they had a Macoun.
A fresh picked Macoun is a rare treat. They’re tart, yet with a sweet hint, nothing like a Granny Smith that can pucker you up. But Macouns don’t last. If not fresh they can taste like a Macintosh.
Morris didn’t have any Macouns, so Victoria Sullivan picked out a couple of Honey Crisps from a basket behind the counter. They were firm.
I’ve picked Honey Crisps and, as you would expect, eaten some right off the tree. Could these be as good?
I look a hefty, full flavor bite. I was rewarded with a crunch that grew only sweeter as I chewed. It was a 9 on a Macoun rating of 10. Memories mushroomed of apple picking outings with the kids where they ran ahead sampling apples from limbs laden with the fruit to the point of breaking.
There were calls of “Dad, you’ve got to try this” or “I found one as big as a melon.” The bags and baskets provided by the orchard were quickly filled and we had only walked the first row of trees. Then came the challenge of finding the “perfect” apple that invariably was on the highest branch. The kids took to the trees, which justifiably was forbidden by the orchard.
They weren’t caught and in some cases they returned with that one apple.
They knew better than to hand it to me.
But now, thanks to that love of apples and my daughter’s ingenuity, I’ve got a personalized game that can bring a family together, generate laughter and offer insights to one another. It’s better than the perfect apple. The “Peppy version” of “Apples to Apples,” as Diana named the game, gets a rating of 11 on the Macoun scale.
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