Arbor Grove Congregational Church
October 2020

Fond Memories

We are finally in my favorite season of the year, Fall. For me, this is a happy time of the year, and I have many fond memories from this season. I love the warm days, cool nights, and the trees are at or near their peak color. So, bear with this as I remember a few Octobers from my past.

When I was young, October was when we when to the Cider Mill to apples, cider, and often donuts. This was a family event, usually Sunday afternoon, and I looked forward to those trips. The old Cider Mill we would go to is about five houses west of our home now, but it has been closed for many years. When I was in high school my parents bought a 60-gallon wooden barrel to fill with cider. My younger sister and I would drive through neighborhoods in the city and sell the cider. We were fortunate to find people that let us pick apples free, and when we had enough apples (25-30) bushels) to make 60 gallons of cider we took them to the Cider Mill to be pressed. It would take several days before the cider was ready and we schedule to fill our barrel on a Friday or Saturday, so we had the weekend to sell it. We needed to sell it all within three or four days, before it started to have a little zing as it fermented. Probably could have doubled the price for the fermented cider, but we never had a problem selling all the cider within three days.
Then there was the time my best friend, Joel, and I decided to try making some applejack. Someone told us to add brown sugar and raisins to cider, but not how much of either, so we guessed. We stored the cider (future applejack) in a back corner of Joel's garage and waited for it to do its thing. There wasn't Internet then so no easy way to check the recipe. We forgot about it and by the time we remembered it it was apple vinegar. We never tried it again, and stayed with eating apples and drinking cider, unfermented.
October was small game hunting season and Saturdays found me and Joel in the woods or fields hunting. If we weren’t hunting, we would go canoeing on the Grand River in Jackson County. There are no flies or or mosquitoes to contend with then. We would drift along with the current and often see deer, fox, mink, and other wildlife on our trips.
Remembering when my kids were little, they helped me harvest the last of the crop from my garden in October. We pick the squash, potatoes, and the pumpkins. They would select their pumpkins they wanted to make jack-o-lanterns for Halloween, and if some were left, they often were used to make pumpkin pies.
Then there is always the task of raking leaves. My kid would help me rake them into a pile, and I always needed to be sure there was enough time for them to play in the pile. When they were done, I would rake the leaves back into a pile to burn them. We also had campfires in the back yard and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, and then relaxing watching the fire and enjoying the warmth until only embers were left.
I probably spend more time outside in October than any other month of the year. I enjoy walking or sitting in the woods watching the wildlife, listening to the sounds, and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. Yes,  October brings back many fond memories.


Respectfully,
Pastor Jerry
Arbor Grove Congregational Church
2621 McCain Road
Jackson, MI 49203
(517) 784-4824
[email protected]
[email protected]