in which the orchard is void of apples and the stories are without ghosts
I'm not one of those people who like horror films. I've never watched one on purpose before, the main reason being that I can't even watch Jaws without being utterly terrified.
The suggestion of terror might be what gets me. When we were twelve a friend of mine and I sat out in my backyard after midnight on the anniversary of John Lennon's death with candles burning in a square around us and my stereo between us softly playing John-centric Beatles songs. It was a very calm night--not so much as a breeze. But then one of us--I forgot who--said timorously, "What if suddenly the candles went out?"
And though we both chuckled at the silliness of the young girls who would be scared after such an event, we both fidgeted nervously until we agreed very quickly that we should go inside.
Now, what's scary about that? Nothing, right? Well, I won't hesitate to tell you that I was very much afraid at the time. That's just me.
So when I signed myself and two friends, Monsieur Z and Mistress LK, up to go on a "ghost walk" in the nearby Amana Colonies, it was somewhat unprecedented. But I like going on walks in the autumn, and I like old buildings, and I began to think that it could be fun to be spooked. The three of us decided to begin the day at Wilson's Apple Orchard just outside of town.
But when we arrived at the orchard, the nice woman in the shop told us that "there are no more apples." They had all been picked. What? We ate our fresh apple turnovers in disappointed silence. How can an apple orchard be out of apples in mid-October? Meanwhile, the wasps and yellow jackets were out in full force, and we had to find a bench inside on which to perch and finish our snacks. The tractor was still giving rides down into the orchard, where there were a few pumpkins if that was one's thing, so we took a tractor ride and tried not to be too obviously disturbed when a woman and her small son boarded the tractor and he continuously showed her the very fuzzy very clearly poisonous caterpillar in his hand and she neglected to make him toss it out over the side.
So, no apples.
beret: Fancy Hat store in Madison
skirt: Forever 21
boots: gifted, old
We went back into town. I graded for a couple of hours. At dinnertime we scarfed down some tasty BBQ and then headed out into the Amana Colonies, eager for our day to turn itself around with some ghost stories.
The setting was promising enough. We were to meet at the post office, and upon arriving we found some odds and ends scattered about that had some spiritual possibilities.
At 6:30 the walk began. We heard some stories about various buildings as we walked by and stopped in front of them. This used to be the schoolhouse; this used to be the communal kitchens; this was once a horse barn that burned down. But none of these stories had ghosts in them! Not one of the buildings was purported to be haunted! We entered a blacksmith shop and witnessed a demonstration, which was certainly neat. We were fed lemonade and caramel popcorn, for which I was grateful and of which I do not mean to complain. All in all, the two and a half hours spent in the Amanas was an interesting history lesson. But even I, so gullible and easily frightened, was driven home underwhelmed. Where were the ghosts?
So, to conclude: false advertising! The apple orchard was out of apples and the ghost stories absent of ghosts. At least when I sit down in my squishy red armchair today with a mug of tea on the built-in-bookshelf to my right and speeches in front of me on the yellow futon to grade, I will know what I'm in for.