I'd been looking forward to Sunday for a while. It was originally going to be the Ren Faire but bad news canceled that. Instead I went to Edwards Orchard West near Winnebago Illinois for the day to visit Anjean and her two companions, sister Melinda and friend Steve. Mapquest, for once, was helpful plotting a route that didn't seem unnecessarily complex and I found the place in exactly the time the website predicted. (Tho' I doubt it took into account my overshooting two turns and spending several minutes parked at the roadside trying to find county highway 71 on the state map. Note: it isn't.)
I found the place about 40 minutes before we all planned to meet there so I spent about a half hour reading the latest volume of Ai Yori Aoshi (which I shall address below, please remind me.) Seeing it was close to noon o'clock and I knew I wouldn't recognize their vehicle I stepped out and began to roam. I roamed and boy did I roam. I Explored both floors of the big barn of merchandise and window shopped, I checked out the scoop on picking and purchasing apples from the orchard, I
After covering the entire grounds twice without sight of my party I finally commandeered a bench and read. And read. And read for another half hour before deciding maybe I shouldn't have skipped breakfast and went inside to sample one of those cider donuts whose mere scent can render someone helpless from across the building. I also bought a cider slush which is just what it sounds like. Thus, with hands full with my food and book I immediately ran into Anjean and company.
I wasn't surprised to see her when and where I did because they were due at any moment. What I didn't expect was for her to appear exactly as she did when last we met. Same type of clothes, colours, everything. Anyway, I awkwardly ate my food as we visited and introduced me to her companions. We then took a tour of the grounds and went out to pick raspberries.
"Raspberry fields forever" was the thought that kept coming to me as we walked down row after thick row of bushes searching for the most succulent and ripe berries. Even after my quart carton was full I kept picking as I would top it off, then eat enough to level it down then top it off again. Then on to pick apples to fill a half-bushel bag that they would split between the three of them. Golden delicious were not available that day but we still snuck over to that row to sample few we found to be ripe. Thieves! But it would be hard for anyone to trace evidence and no one was caught in the act. Still, just to be safe I will be soon falsifying my driver's ID address to 1060 W. Addison, Chicago.
The rest of the day was spent exploring and visiting. Mostly visiting. Anjean's sister was very quiet but didn't seem to be bored by our conversation. I was glad to see I made her laugh several times with my usual jokes and non sequitors and hoped that she didn't feel weird about spending the day in part with some strange guy her sister met at an anime convention. Steve is very friendly and has a laugh as big as he is. His anime and manga collection is immense and, like the stereotypical otaku, is also a computer whiz. We all got and a splendid time was guaranteed for all.
Since none of us had eaten more than raspberries, apples and cider for most of the day we suped at Dennys (an old fav of mine and new of theirs) and talked for a couple more hours at the table. It's not often I have days like this anymore and I hope the next won't be so far in the future.
I told Anjean that if she ever comes to visit me here that she would absolutely have to cook for me. She is currently taking a baking class and is very knowledgeable about cooking which was more than obvious from the way she kept talking about all the things she could do with all the food we saw. This kept me hungry for most of the day, even after I was full from fruit and dinner. It makes me wish I was more than a bachelor at cooking. But then, all it takes is practice.
The SWE teased me later that night about the biblical aspects eating apples in the orchard with another woman, and called me a "sinner." She's due for a severe tickling, methinks.
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