I made a drive across Georgia apple country yesterday to come here to the Clemson-Pickens-Greenville part of South Carolina for a wedding this afternoon. So much has changed along that U.S 76 route in the last 25 years. What used to be sleepy podunk, hillbilly towns now have fast food restaurants and strip malls and four-lane roads and lots of traffic. They’ve retained some of their character, so it’s not all bad. It’s fascinating to me how population increases and shifts and totally changes places.
It’s still a pretty drive, though, and this time of year I love stopping off at the Red Apple Barn outside Ellijay. There they have apples, apples, more apples and all forms of apple – fritters and fried pies, dried and juiced apples. I got a variety of forms as well as extra apples to share.
On the way out, I smelled boiled peanuts. For those of you who aren’t Southerners, boiled peanuts are just that. What we call “green” peanuts boiled for hours in salty water. They’re best eaten warm, but they’re mighty good cold, too. Cracking open that shell and thumbing the meaty, salty peanuts into your mouth. . . well, all I have to say is that, for me, that’s some good eating. But yesterday it was not to be, because The Red Apple Barn had just put on the peanuts to boil, so they weren’t done yet. I’m hoping I’ll find some on the drive back tomorrow.
The reason for this trip, my cousin’s son’s wedding, took place this afternoon in a pretty outdoor setting in nice weather. It seems there are as many October as June weddings nowadays. That makes sense for outdoor weddings in the South, because it’s less likely to be scorching hot in October than it is in June. Though it was plenty warm for me when the wedding started, by the time it was over and the reception began, the temperature had cooled off.
But honestly, the weather doesn’t matter that much in weddings. Because weddings are about love and beginnings and family and friends and being together. We can sweat through them, freeze through them, be under umbrellas through them – and we’ll be happy anyhow. Because we don’t go for the weather. We go for the bride and groom.
Here’s to Kari and Jefferson. Thank you for giving me a reason to make a really pretty drive across North Georgia into Upstate South Carolina. I wish you a happy marriage. Apple season will remind me of the day you both said, “I do.”
And I hope you still do for many, many years to come.