Prior to our week in Michigan, my sister and I had talked on the phone one night about vacation logistics. ‘There’s a u-pick farm just a few miles away,’ she mentioned, ‘I thought we could go and pick blueberries.’
It sounded good to me, this idea of going somewhere to pick fruit. Even if it’s [probably] one of those things that kids love for nanoseconds….before getting bored or tired or hungry. Or hot.
As we drove back from the beach one day, I saw an advertisement for a fruit orchard and pie pantry in one of the tourist brochures I’d stashed in the car. It seemed promising – the opportunity to combine fruit picking with pie eating, as the professor had been muttering about his need for pie all the way from Duluth. Where he’d remembered our previous visits to Betty’s Pies. Which was forty minutes outside of Duluth and utterly out of our way.
Sadly, his reunion with pie was deferred.
In Michigan, I told my mom, sister and brother-in-law about the pie place and they signed on for a trip to the orchard. So we piled in our respective cars and drove south, past Saugatuck towards Fennville. It was a nice little drive and I could practically taste the fruit we were going to pick. But then, as these things always seem to go when I’m involved, we arrived at the orchard gate. Which was shut. With a big sign to the left of it, printed with the words: U-pick closed.
It’s one thing: dragging your spouse and children all over creation looking for some fruit to pick. But it’s another when you drag four other people with you, only to find out the fruit-picking place is closed. Which you would have known if you’d checked the fruit-picking website. The words ‘abysmal failure’ come to mind.
Luckily the pie pantry was open. So we abandoned our (my?) dreams of filling wicker baskets with blueberries while the sun set upon us. And dined, instead, on various incarnations of pie and apple butter ice cream and cider.
After we’d stuffed our faces with pie, our fellow travelers bid us adieu and headed back to Holland. I’d seen another sign for a u-pick farm, so I convinced the professor to drive the short distance to try our luck at picking raspberries. As we pulled into the parking lot, the proprietor walked towards us, shaking her head: ‘no’.
They were closing in ten minutes.
Forbidden fruit, my brother-in-law’s bemused expression after seeing the closed sign, the orchard, and all the boys wearing their matching shirts (well, except for the baby).