Here is how my family reaped a windfall: on Tuesday morning we packed up all our things from the cabin we'd been staying in--all the board games, pots and pans, bed linens, stuffed animals, fishing gear, and piles and piles of dirty laundry--and stashed them in our vehicles so we could sweep the cabin clean ahead of the 10 a.m. checkout time, and then the men moved the two boats across the inlet while the women drove the cars around to meet the boats at the campground, where it's easier to pull them out. We spent some time that morning paddling around and doing a little fishing before enjoying a picnic lunch and heading for home, but first we'd promised to take Little E to visit the very impressive playground.
The path to the playground took us past a scraggly apple tree that could date from the Johnny Appleseed era, but despite its unkempt appearance, it was absolutely loaded with ripe red apples, with many more piled on the ground. Two park workers were going at it with long rakes to shake more apples out of the tree. Little E was fascinated by the process and asked, "Can I have an apple?"
"Take as many as you want," said the workers. So we did.
The apples are small and spotted but they snap sharply when you bite and they taste like fall: tart and cool and juicy. They'll make good applesauce, which is my task this morning. A nasty allergy attack has knocked my feet out from under me the past few days, but I think I'm capable of sitting quietly in the kitchen and peeling apple after apple after apple to put into the applesauce pan, and while I do it I'll think of that final morning at the lake and how a child's simple question resulted in a juicy and delicious windfall.