Traditionnnnnnnnn. Tradition!

Every year we pack up the kids and our crap for a day at Deseret Industries, Apple Hill, and some quality time on the American River at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma.

Every year I have a level of stress so high I’m convinced I’ll be having a heart attack at any moment.  I snap like a turtle and cuss like a sailor until we’re in the car and on the road, well past the ‘Crap, I forgot the ______’ moment where we can’t turn around and go back for whatever it was we forgot.  Which, this year, was the swimsuit bag.  Thankfully, Mom called just as we had gotten on the highway so it was easy-peasy to turn around.  1, 3 and 4 years old is cute swimming in their underwear.  7, 9, and 11 is not.

Every year I find a piece of furniture that I  must have from DI or my life will be incomplete.  But we have no room in our vehicle for said piece of furniture so I leave empty handed.  This year I found this amazing love seat.  It was covered in a golden yellow (do not confuse ‘gold’ with ‘mustard’) boucle, mid-century masterpiece.  Very comfy, no smoke or cat pee smells, and a sofa bed to boot!  This year, I asked if they happened to hold furniture for you after you buy it so you can come back with a larger van to bring it home in.  Steve says Yes!  For 24 hours, they will slap your name and a SOLD sign on it, trot it out back, and wait for you to pick it up.  And they’re not open Sundays, so you really get 48 hours when purchasing on a Saturday (like me).  And they’re not open on Labor Day, either, so now I’ve got until Tuesday to come back for my prize!  Except I’ll be in Oakland all day on Tuesday for S’s semi-annual MRI and neurologist visit.  Damn.

Every year I swear that this will be the year we get out early enough that I’ll finally get my apple fritter at Boa Vista Orchards.  I would like to take this moment to tell you about why it is necessary to have an apple fritter from Boa Vista.  The great clump of fried apple poo you get at the grocery store bakery (or even your local, independent donut shop!) is not, I repeat, not a true apple fritter.  The Boa Vista fritters are indescribably good.  They are light.  Full of apples.  And a little crispy on the outside.  And not 50% glaze.  Which is why they sell out before we get there.  I am trying to love the apple donuts, but I think they are made with apple cider vs. actual apple pieces.  This makes them easy to like, but tough to love.

Every year after buying our apple cider and bushel of apples for making applesauce with, we head on over to the river for an afternoon of watching the kids slip on the rocks as they navigate the American River.  They throw boulders skip rocks, splash around, make dares with Dad about who can dunk their whole body – including the head!- into the ice-cold water first, and eat like the young men they are growing to be.  We always have our same little sandy beach where we spread out a blanket and a couple of camp chairs, except…. Sometime in the last year Sunset Magazine put our little spot in one of their “undiscovered”-type articles and now our place is filled with teenagers, I mean, young adults, oh what the hell… jackasses smoking and drinking people – hogging and defiling our little haven.

As we were on the road to our destination one of the kids from the back seat asked:  “Hey, why do we go to Apple Hill every year?”

To which Little D replied:  “It’s tradition!  We have a tradition!!”

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