Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A New Family Tradition

My husband Jeff grew up in East Lansing Michigan, a land where apparently they have autumn and the leaves change colors and fall on the ground and you have to rake them and everything. Autumn for him also meant an annual Rosenberg family trip to Uncle John’s Cider Mill in St. John’s Michigan.

This year, some 20 years since his last visit to Uncle John’s, Jeff was feeling especially nostalgic for the apple picking, doughnuts, and corn maze-ness of his youth. We packed ourselves into the station wagon and headed out of LA into the wilds of Yucaipa, an area a couple of hours away, previously only known to me as an off ramp on the way to Palm Springs.

For Jeff, the highlights of that day are as follows:

8:30 am Exit driveway.

8:32 am In the car on the way to breakfast, Jeff dribbles hot coffee from a leaky travel mug down the front of his light blue shirt.

9:10 am Seated in a booth at the Coral CafĂ©, Bob orders a hot cocoa to go with his pancakes. When the cup arrives, Bob reaches for it, Jeff moves to block and the scalding chocolate leaps from the cup onto Jeff’s face, shirt, and pants. Jeff receives minor burns. Bob is concerned. “Oh no Daddy! This is terrible! I wasted my cocoa!”

11:30 am Arrival at the quaint and lovely Snowline Cider Mill. Two bottles of cold cider purchased. Three ounces of the contents of one bottle rushes straight to the front of Jeff’s left pant leg.

11:50 am While I stand in line to get cider doughnuts for the guys, Bob finds a really good stick in the orchard and tests it out by cracking it over Jeff’s head. No broken skin. Some swelling.

12:40 pm Bob enjoys a Frankenstein cookie on a stick. I purchase two hot, spiced ciders for Jeff and myself. Cider applies itself directly to front of Jeff’s formerly solid blue, now not so subtly patterned shirt front.

12:55 pm There is a situation in the men’s porta-potty that involves Bob stripping naked. Urine and other fluids are adhered to Jeff’s pants in the process.

1:15 pm In our attempt to pick fresh raspberries, Jeff is repeatedly pricked with tiny stickers and comes away with 14 smashed berries in a green produce basket and two smashed berries on the back of his pants.

2:25 pm Back on the road, Jeff reaches for a bottled water. I mention that when the water runs out, if he is still thirsty, he can then suck on his shirt. This comment is viewed by my husband as less than supportive.

I love autumn.


  1. Family trips are the best! The only thing that didn't happen that could have would be Bob nailing his dad in the baby maker with a wiffle ball bat or mini golf club, but you have many day trips ahead of you to cross this off your agenda.

  2. Haha, oh my goodness! Poor Jeff.

    Mmmm, now I want some cider donuts. There is this place in Vermont that has the best ones!

  3. 1. Cider donuts? Darn it, there are some bad sides to living in the middle east. Like not having cider donuts.

    2. Men. Ha-ha!

  4. Ahh, the memories of Uncle John's Cider Mill!!!! Our family also made annual trips there. It was a mixed bag - partly boring and partly fun because of the donuts.

  5. Poor guy. :(
    My hubby has this thing with coffee...and nice pants. Without fail he dribbles coffee onto them while driving. And he always blames the cup.
    I told him if they ever make it illegal to drink coffee and drive at the same time we'd save money on dry cleaning.

  6. Too too funny! But then, I love all of your posts. This is one of my favorite blogs. :D

  7. I'm from Mid-Michigan as well, just south of Lansing. I've never been to Uncle John's, but we have a Cider Mill in our town (Charlotte). I haven't been in a couple years, but the cider mill makes the season :-) Oh, and poor Jeff! lol