Here we are, once again, on the wagon at Huber’s Orchard, en route to the pumpkin patch. Could we purchase a pumpkin for less money at the local supermarket? Perhaps. Is there a roadside vendor asking fewer dollars for the same good quality? Maybe. But this is more than just about getting a pumpkin. Much more. This is an Adventure.
Huber’s Orchard Adventure
HAVE AN ADVENTURE
Years ago when I had been one of the care-givers to my father, I came to understand that his world of friends, events, travels, and sense of adventure had basically come to a halt when incapacitating strokes had modified his life, energies, and mobility. It was then he and I began having Adventures. An adventure was a simple thing. It was a drive to the country with a picnic lunch spread out at a roadside park.
It was an afternoon drive to watch the ducks gobble up our bread crumbs. Sometimes it was making a short journey to a family cemetery just to sit and remember.
UNDERSTANDING WHAT AN ADVENTURE IS
After dad’s death in 2002, I began to realize that my mother-in-law also longed for Adventures. She traveled regularly with senior adult groups and different family members to activities. She had been a world traveler, and had crossed America on many occasions, but hearing about my adventures with my dad, she also wanted Adventures. To qualify as a true bonafide adventure, there must be minimal pre-planning and no particular itinerary.
That was fourteen years ago. Our adventure of Adventures has taken us to Conneaut, Ohio, Clifton Forge, Virginia, and Erie, Pennsylvania in search of history regarding my Aunt Hallie. We’ve driven across Alabama, Indiana, Ohio and Virginia just to find covered bridges.
We’ve spread picnic lunches on the beaches of Florida, sat on creek banks in South Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. We’ve camped in tents at Chick-fil-A Grand Openings, KOA primitive cabins across the country, and in a 1960 Nimrod pop-up trailer.
RECOGNIZE WHEN SOMEONE NEEDS AN ADVENTURE
My mother-in-law is in her 96th year. I hasten to say, she is not 96 years old, because she feels much younger. She still has a keen sense of adventure and desire to travel down memory lane. So it is that on this particular day, I notice her spirits seem to be sagging a bit. Her bones are tired, – she needs an adventure. Part of the adventure of Adventures is to recognize when someone has a need. An adventure breaks up monotony and affords an opportunity to think new thoughts that will refresh the soul.
Most of our Adventures have taken us off the beaten path, off the well-traveled roadways, and into areas where neither of us have been before, and will probably never again visit together because there are too many new places to explore. But today, we are returning to a place where we have often gone before. Today, our Adventure is a journey of memories. Today we are returning to Huber’s Orchard.
“JUST LOOK AT ALL THOSE PUMPKINS”
As the wagon jostles across the field, I watch my mother-in-law. This is a bit more bumpy than I remembered and I know her bones are already aching. And then she turns to me, “would you just look at all those pumpkins! I remember when we brought Rhonda, Sharon, and John out here and they went to the petting farm and played on the playground. I know we must have ridden the wagon back her to the pumpkin patch, but I just can’t remember back that far.”
LET’S JUST SIT IN THE PUMPKIN PATCH FOR A WHILE
Pulling out a bag chair I had brought along, Hazel, (Mom H as I call her), gets comfortable and begins watching the many families as they lead their children to select just exactly the right pumpkin. “Remember when we brought baby Brandon out here?”
She continues her reveries. “Oh, and Cassidy just loved to pick up all the apples, but then they were too heavy for her to carry.”
I remind her that she and I had come out several years back, just the two of us. “Oh yes, that was a fun Adventure. We just started out to drive through Iroquois Park looking at the leaves, and then we ended up here on the pumpkin patch wagon. That was such fun.”
“Mom H, the wagon is back to make a pick-up. Do you want to stay a little longer?”
“No, I’m about ready to go back. I’m so glad we came. I was afraid I’d never get to come again. I’ve got such wonderful memories as far back as I can remember, coming to Huber’s Orchard. You know, they used to make cider right there in the parking lot. Mama always loved the apple cider.”
Her memories continue as we jostle back to the parking lot.
MAKE THE ADVENTURE MEMORABLE
As the wagon begins to pull up beside the building, I take a deep breath and then call for everyone’s attention. “Folks, after I say this, my mother-in-law will have my hide, but whatever. She’s in her 96th year and has come to Huber’s Orchard nearly her whole adult life. I think we should give her a shout out.”
Applause, cheers, and well wishes follow her as she climbs down from the wagon. Several people come to help her. I covertly glance over to see if I am in trouble – but she is all smiles.
How ’bout it? Have you had an Adventure lately? We all need to take time out of the routine – do something totally out of the ordinary, and enjoy an Adventure. No matter how bad you feel, how bleak your circumstance – take the time for a true Adventure. I’d love to hear what you do, where you go, and who was with you.