Apples ‘n onions

Our family drove up to the North Georgia mountains for some family togetherness and to enjoy the fall colors.

Our 1.5 hours of driving was filled with movie-watching, iPhone & Kindle playing, Nintendo DS’s and a Leapster. Technology. One of the reasons we were heading out to the great outdoors in the first place.

Once we got there, we all unplugged and enjoyed an incredible family picnic followed by an amazing hike. Filled with falls, scrapes, tired breathlessness as we climbed down and up an exorbitant amount of stairs and very wobbly legs as we stumbled across an old wooden suspension bridge across a gorge. We fought over who got to be the “leader”, we yelled, “hey wait up, don’t leave us behind”. We coaxed tired legs and broken wills off the benches after a rest and water break–encouraged each other to keep going that there was more to see and it would be fun to keep going. *Someone* even bribed people to keep going using candy she had stashed in her pocket for such a time as this.

It was a day of swinging from one extreme to the other–from watching a movie while playing on a piece of technology in the van to out in nature with nothing more than a water bottle and Cliff bar, then back in the van to plug in again on the ride home again. From being alone with your head down while jumping for coins or sling-shotting birds in your own little world, to suddenly being together in a group with our heads up and mouths agog in wonder at the beauty of nature out in a great big world.

As I sat down later and thought about our day of bouncing back and forth between our extreme activities, it reminded me of a favorite side dish mentioned in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Farmer Boy”–apples ‘n onions. These are two things that just don’t really seem to go together. But when given context and paired with the pork chop of togetherness, the “apples” of technology (pun intended) and the onions of a foray into nature made perfect sense altogether.

Our odd mix of a little bit of this and a little bit of that made for an extremely enjoyable afternoon for all six of us. That day left us feeling full and satisfied with stories, high scores, memories, and a priceless photo or two to boot.

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