Apparently, the little Amish store outside Nappanee is the only place in the region to buy Winter Banana apples. I learned that last year. So, despite not really having had a good experience at the store, I steeled myself and drove back. The owner had been next thing to rude, last year. But oh well. It’s 2019.
The store opens at 12:30, so I arrived around 12:40. No one was there. The front door was locked. I waited a bit longer. Just before I left, a vehicle pulled in and two young Amish guys jumped out.
“Are you going to open the store?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said pleasantly. “I just need to run around to the back door.”
Well, his demeanor was a thousand times better than the owner’s with whom I had dealt the year before, so confidence swelled within me.
This was going to be a good experience.
“I would like three bushels of banana apples and one bushel of Cortland,” I explained.
The young man reached for a paper.
“Apples,” he said. “Okay…what I’m not sure of is how many we have left that haven’t been ordered. Well, let’s go out there.”
Out to the cooler we went.
“My problem is, the owner is gone because of a funeral,” he said. “And he doesn’t label the apples because he knows which ones are which.”
Warning bells tinkled in my head
Inside the cooler, huge bins of apples, green and red, met us like riddles.
“Do you know what banana apples look like?” he asked me.
“Well, it’s been a year,” I said. “But I don’t really think it’s those,” I added with an eye toward a big green bin.
“What about these?”
“Yes, those look about right,” I said weakly.
He next tasted a red apple.
“Nope, not Cortland,” he said. “I know how Cortland taste. He really should label these. How far away do you live?”
“I live in Elkhart,” I said coolly. No, I did not have time to run home and back. I thought of just abandoning ship. But really, how bad would it be to get the wrong ones? So we made our best guess and loaded them into my car.
We were nearly finished when another car pulled in. A well-dressed woman with several neat children stepped out.
“I’m here to pick up four bushels of Fuji apples,” she said briskly.
Her voice said she had 5.7 minutes of time budgeted for this stop.
“I’ll be with you in just a bit,” the young man said as he finished helping me. I sensed a note of desperation in his voice.
I followed him into the store to pay for my apples.
“Won’t this be interesting?” he said to me, as if grasping for any potential sympanthy. “Fuji!”
I left, with a strange sensation. I don’t think I’ve ever felt both irritated at and sorry for the same person at once.
I’m planning on making applesauce today, and I still don’t know what apples I have. Well, the say the third time is the charm. So here’s counting on 2020.
I just wonder how the Fuji woman is doing.