Because fall is Justin’s busy time with work, I feel compelled to fit as many fall activities into a weekend as I can. Even if it’s 85 degrees an feels nothing like fall, as was the case today. But, temperatures be damned, we had all the fall fun we could muster.
This morning, we headed off to Arlington Town Day. I’m a huge nerd. I wait for this day all year. Well, maybe not all year. That would be really pitiful. But once late August roles around… Part of the reason I like Town Day is that I get to see former students. It’s nice to get to catch up with them for a few minutes and hear what’s going on, especially now that they’re seniors and getting ready to start applying to colleges. Today was a little more special, though. I saw three girls, one of them who wasn’t even my student, and they absolutely made my day.
The first girl wasn’t my student, but she recognized me when we went out to breakfast. She told me that she hadn’t been in my class but she’d really wanted to because my class was “the cool class, the one everyone really wanted to get into.” Are you kidding me? It brought tears to my eyes. I think that might be the ultimate compliment, especially three years after I left the school. Then we ran into two girls who had been in my class, one of them, bless her heart, for two years. They told me they’d had a good English teacher last year, but my class was still the best English class they’d ever had. By the grace of God, I didn’t burst into tears in the middle of Mass Ave.
Justin, Robbie, and I had fun perusing the booths and buying raffle tickets, which it looks like weren’t winners… Justin stopped to meet our Congressman. I don’t even know the man’s name, but Justin recognized him standing in the middle of the road and waited to talk to him. God love him for that.
After Town Day, we piled into the car for more mandatory fun. We were off to pick apples at Applecrest Farm in New Hampshire. I’ve found it’s much better to make the drive to New Hampshire because it’s not as crowded. You spend less time driving to get there than you do waiting in traffic to get to the Massachusetts orchards. We hopped on the tractor and took the five minute ride into the orchards. I’ve never seen Robbie look so serious; he was doing his best to take everything in. The smells, the sounds, the people, the trees. And then he turned and looked at Justin with a huge grin on his face, like he just knew how great it was going to be.
And it was. We got him about a hundred yards into the orchard before we let him go. He had a good time toddling around. I picked him up, and we picked a few apples together. He dissolved into laughter every time he felt the weight of the apple fall into his hand. And then we had the best moment of the entire day.
I put Robbie down near a tree with a low branch and waited to see if he would notice, armed with a camera. Robbie did notice. He gave Justin and me a grin and started toward the branch, arm outstretched for the small apple. He pulled at it a few times, but the apple didn’t budge. Undaunted and, apparently, hungry, Robbie grabbed the apple, pulled it toward him, and sank his teeth into it. He was a little surprised the apple popped away when he finished his bite. Shortly after, the apple fell and became Robbie’s prized possession. He held onto it as we walked to the front of the orchard, rode the train back, and waited for ice cream.
Even Robbie has his limits with loyalty. When presented with a spoon of ice cream, Robbie tossed the forgotten apple onto the ground. Apparently, apple picking also makes you thirsty. Roberto downed my entire bottle of water, although about a quarter of it wound up on his shirt and pants. We need to work on his drinking habits… The water turned cloudy with ice cream residue very quickly.
At the end of the day, Rob was no match for apple picking. He was fast asleep before we even hit the interstate to make our way home. And it must have done something to him because he cuddled with me before he went to bed, something he hasn’t done since he stopped nursing in May. At one point, he was on his stomach in my lap, his head nestled in the crook of my arm while I rubbed his back. He lifted his head up and shot me a smile that was pure bliss and made googly eyes with me like we used to do when he was a baby.