The appearance of the apples was misleading. Their looks, in fact, could have caused them to be ignored as they fell to the hard, West Texas ground with a thud. Beneath the mottled skin though, they were still apples, sweet and delicious, like other apples who look just fine on the outside. If only apples could talk, they would be sure we knew there was still a treasure to be found inside.
The apple tree was in Mom and Dad’s backyard, and it was pretty scraggly looking. If you saw the apples, you probably wouldn’t go to a lot of trouble to reach up and pick one. They were sort of a dull yellow/red/brown and were very small. When the scrawny tree limbs grew too weak to hold the fruit, the tiny apples, already snacked on by worms and bugs, fell to the ground. Mom and Dad faithfully picked them up every day; there was no need for a gathering basket since they were small and only a few fell each day.
Mom washed them, cut away all bruises and spots, chopped them and put them in the fridge. When she had gathered 2 cups of chopped apples, she pulled out her apron, mixing bowl, Bundt pan, and recipe ingredients. As the oven preheated, she greased and floured the pan and began measuring and stirring. When the inserted toothpick came out clean, she carefully took the cake out of the oven…filling the house with the delicious aroma of apples and cinnamon. All through apple season, Mom knocked on doors, delivering fresh apple cakes with warm hugs. Family, neighbors and strangers loved it when Mom showed up on their porches.
Mom and Dad are gone now. We don’t have an apple tree, but we faithfully bake the cake every fall. As I savor each bite, precious memories of Mom and Dad and life before Alzheimer’s scroll across my mind. One of my grandchildren told me after his first bite, “Honey, this is good cake!” I told him something about his Great Grandmother…that it was her recipe and she would be happy to know he liked it. His response was, “I’m SERIOUS, Honey! This is GOOD cake!” Good memories too…
Just thinking…Alzheimer’s can change our loved ones into people we barely recognize…like the tiny, bug-eaten, mottled apples…once firm and crisp with shiny, smooth red skin. Perhaps our loved ones are hoping we’ll look closely at them too and discover the treasure that’s still deep inside. Maybe they’re even hoping we’ll hear them telling us so.
Thank you for joining me here, Tracie
“Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 17:8
I wrote Dancing Around the Chaos for those who are on the ALZ journey with loved ones…struggling to figure it out and dreading what the next day will bring…but too exhausted and afraid to think beyond the present. It happens to also be a sweet and tender love story that really happened, whose characters are real people. Find it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2v2paXK
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