austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Come and show me the magic

Part of Wednesday would be spent in getting supplies for Thanksgiving, to be held at bunny_hugger's house and actually the event which drew me out to Michigan originally. She was feeling a bit better despite the California Plague, and I was holding out hope that it wouldn't catch me until after dinner on Thursday or maybe even later. We also needed to get pie, which is the sort of thing that can be found in many places, but she wanted it particularly from a farm which is along her way to work. It's a bit out of the way, but it would also provide the chance to look for a letterbox which had gone missing, and it would also allow for stopping off to buy a bundle of wood at a place selling such bundles at better rates than those near her home.

The farm, a family farm and on top of that a ``Centennial Farm'', one held by the same family for at least a hundred years, and it was stunningly familiar. I don't mean in a deja-vu sense; I didn't feel like I knew anything about the place beyond what I saw at the moment. But back when I was a kid, there was a farm at what felt like ten miles past the edge of the world --- I think it's about twenty minutes northeast of where my parents live now --- where we occasionally went, to pick blueberries, and sometimes get pie, or cookies, or those other treats that we got just often enough. (A month later, when bunny_hugger visited me for New Year's and described the farm to my parents, my father recognized it as like ours.)

The farm, and winery, and extra little things like a Kids Corral with wooden mockup railroads for the younger set to run around and that sort of thing, was ... perhaps not seen in the best possible light, as it was a chilly, overcast day threatening to rain. But that's Thanksgiving week weather, isn't it? And besides, somewhere in the vicinity bunny_hugger had left a letterbox, with stamp, which according to a report had strayed from the location where her clues on a letterboxing site had directed people. Her location was by a tree stump off on the far side of some grass lots that weren't needed just when we were there, so it felt farther away than it really was.

Unfortunately while bunny_hugger knew just where the box should be, the box wasn't. That was reasonable since it was reported missing, but we started a roughly systematic search in the vicinity which proved that the edges of a modest forest could provide a lot of complicated terrain with fallen leaves and dark vague shapes that looked to me like they might be letterboxes, although they were nothing of the sort. After a reasonable time getting chilly and rooting around, and looking at some of the leftovers from the farm's Halloween setups, we concluded that this one --- like the one near the state capitol which we'd been unable to find back in June --- was lost.

So we went in for shopping, and the farm there had piles of gourds as well as an empty telephone booth, telephone removed. It's probably a style thing. The place also has a wonderful surplus of slightly to wonderfully kitschy items, maybe not actually including ``Bless This Mess'' signs but they would if they wanted, and hand puppets, and candies, and extremely low ceiling beams that I didn't quite manage to smash my head into, but I came close. It's in other sections that they have the output of the winery --- we picked up a bottle of wine for Thanksgiving and pondered the sometimes elaborate stories that they put on the labels about whose great-uncle had beehives and who had surplus honey that might go into wines and whatnot, and bunny_hugger threw the staff there for a bit of a loop by knowing what she wanted without tasting anything --- and in yet another section which had pies. bunny_hugger had called in an order the day before, so there wasn't any waiting necessary, which was good in that we were able to pick them up without having to be tempted by the presence of what they had on hand for too long. On the other hand, boy, it's nice smelling fresh-baked cookies. A lot.

One curious thing: they had marked down their pumpkin pies to nearly half-price. This made sense, since isn't it normal to mark down the prices of seasonal merchandise during the time when it's at its highest demand, rather than in the days after Thanksgiving when you have to get the whole perishable stock out and nobody wants it?

Trivia: The first ballpoint pens, sold in the United States in 1945, cost about $12.50 each. Source: The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance, Henry Petroski.

Currently Reading: Isaac Asimov Presents The Best Science Fiction of The 19th Century, Editors Isaac Asimov, Martin H Greenberg, Charles G Waugh.


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