Shirley watches the Autumn leaves swirl in the air from her kitchen window as she makes caramel apples for her brood. Tracy’s little tambourine hands help mold the caramel disc to the big green apple. Then Christopher drums the finished delight on the silver platter. Laurie combs her long, brown hair and wishes it was long caramel and her comb was made out of caramel and she could eat it.

Danny runs down the stairs with a towel on his head, “Mom, I’m sorry to say but I don’t think I can make it to school tomorrow for the Halloween party. I think I’m coming down with a horrible cold or flu or maybe both.”

Keith puts his guitar down, shakes his perfect feathered hair and laughing says, “You’re not sick, Danny. You’re just upset that Mom didn’t buy you that Halloween costume.”

Danny freckle frowns, crosses his arms and says, “No, Keith. I’m sweaty and my knees and toes are cold and I’m afraid that my freckles are going to melt right off my face.”

Reuben puts down his cup of Sanka and says, “Gee, I hope it’s not catchy. Some stewardess friends are coming in this weekend and I sure wouldn’t want to catch a sore throat. Maybe you better go back up to your room and stay in bed.”

Shirley rinses her hands under the faucet and dries them on her pink apron. “Okay, Danny. Come here.”

She gets down on her knees and says, “Let me take your temperature.”

She licks her forefinger and then places it under Danny’s tongue. She pulls it out, shakes it, puts it in her mouth, looks at the ceiling for a few seconds, pulls her finger back out and says, “Danny, you’re completely fine. And I think you know that.”

Danny hangs his head down with red-headed embarrassment, “Yeah, I know, Mom. But I really wanted that Mussolini Halloween costume.”

Shirley smiles and says, “Reuben, have you ever known my children to be sickly?”

Reuben takes a sip of his Sanka, swallows and says, “Well, Tracy had a stomach ache once.”

Shirley laughs, “That’s because she ate an entire gumball machine.”

Tracy pipes up from the kitchen, “I like gumballs.”

Keith rubs his crotch and says, “Don’t we all.”

Shirley frowns and continues, “The reason my children are never sick is because of the old saying, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’. Everyday my kids eat an apple from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This keeps the doctor away because when you eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, you’re healthy, wealthy and wise. There’s no reason to visit a doctor or for a doctor to visit. In fact, remember that apple pie that I made last Spring, Reuben? After that one slice after dinner you weren’t sick for almost an entire year.”

Reuben nods his head, “Jeez, Shirley. You’re right.”

Keith picks up his guitar and starts to sing, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Laurie then starts to sing alongside Tracy, “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”

Christopher and Shirley join in with the others singing, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Laurie imagines a protest sign made of caramel and Danny smirks and thinks about how much he hates panini sandwiches.

Apple quote by Carl Sagan who lived in a Sphinx Head Society Egyptian Revival house

Apple art by Whale Song Partridge

Apple cart tall tale by The Partridge in the Pear Tree

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