Monday, September 26, 2011

Cortland Apples and Me

I recently rediscovered my love for Cortland apples. When fully ripe they are a dark, muted red with a soft, sweet interior. Since most red apples cause my throat to tighten (allergic reaction), I was a little hesitant at first to try them.

It only took one bite for me to remember when I had last tried them. They were a treat for me as a kid. Dad would take a knife from the kitchen drawer in one hand and a Cortland apple in the other. He was very methodical, but quick. In no time he’d peel the entire apple leaving one long, curly, red skin on the counter. I’ve never been able to peel more than a couple of inches, but Dad’s apple peel was almost always intact.

Next he’d core out the center using the same knife. He’d stick it through the top and twist until he was able to hollow it out from top to bottom. When he was done, he’d hand it to me. I used to think of them as doughnuts. I’d ask for a doughnut apple and he’d go through the process.

I never knew what type of apple it was until just recently when Hannah and I went to Tuttle Orchards just east of Lawrence. We arrived a little early in the season (since we wanted to go before Abigail was born), and they only had two types of apples available for harvest.

A half hour and twenty dollars later we had enough apples to last us a while. We got a few tart apples to make pie (Hannah made two and an apple crisp), but the majority were Cortland apples. I pulled the red wagon and snapped photos while coaching Hannah on how to choose the “right” apples. I’m a Wencl. There’s a “right” way to do everything, even apple picking.

After dropping off all 24 lbs. of apples in the car, we ate lunch at Tuttle Orchards. They only sold lunch on certain Saturdays, so we were fortunate. We ate cider-cooked bratwurst, chips, apple sauce, and, of course, apple cider. It was probably the best bratwurst I’ve ever had.

I now like Cortland apples for two reasons. Here’s to many more!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You?

On September 11, 2001, I was in my band class playing my cornet when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. I was thirteen years old and just starting the eighth grade. When the bell rang and we moved to our next class, we learned what was going on. Apparently it was the art class that first found out—they listen to the radio in class. I came to my literature class and sat down with my classmates to watch the news. At that point the second tower had already been hit. For the rest of the school day I sat mesmerized by the images and voices on the TV. While other students talked and laughed in the back of the class, a few of us realized that we were watching history.

Now, ten years later, so much has faded into memory. I am among the youngest who still remember that day. A kid on television talked about how his father, a police officer, had died on that day. He was born less than thirty days later. My daughter, who could be born any time, will be over ten years removed from the events of that day. Whereas previous generations asked “Do you remember where you were when you heard Pearl Harbor was attacked?” or “Do you remember where you were when JFK was killed?” the question “Do you remember where you were when the Trade Center Towers fell?” is my generation’s question.

It seemed a lot of people wanted to know where God was when the Trade Center Towers fell. God was not absent. God was there. As a matter of fact, all of history, including the events of September 11, 2001, are unfolding according to God's plan from before the beginning of time. Though we do not understand why, God hasn't called us to know that answer, and He hasn't chosen to reveal it to us. Instead of asking where God was, we need to ask ourselves if we are going to trust Him knowing that He was there the whole time.

Friday, September 2, 2011


While getting Abigail's room ready, I suddenly realized why children aren't as excited about stuffed animal nets as adults—it's all about perspective!