Who couldn’t love newborn autumn in Michigan? With summer vacations archived in photos and memories, we flock again to high school and college football fields to cheer our team to victory.
Alumni, students, and parents clap to the beat of marching bands. In small to large towns, we celebrate homecoming in a place where we prepared our minds and bodies to greet our future with knowledge, skill, and confidence.
And what reasonable person would drive by a cider mill pressing the sweet goodness out of Honey Crisps and Northern Spies without stopping in for a sip and doughnut?
Doesn’t every Michigander have a favorite doughnut?
For instance, check out Yate’s Cider Mill at 23 Mile and Dequindre Roads before 11 a.m. on a Friday and you’ll find folk lined up, waiting for the doughnut door to open.
“What’s the big attraction?” I asked the gray-headed guy behind me.
“Apple fritters! I hope they don’t run out before I get mine.”
“Me too,” said the man before me.
Both men boasted the girth of life-long apple fritter fans.
“As a kid, I rode my bike here from Hazel Park every fall,” said the man behind. “I’ve come every year since.”
“Yeah, I’ve waited in this line for fifty-five years,” replied the other guy. “Our parents brought us here and waited in line.”
“That apple fritter kept me out of trouble and Mom’s hair all day long,” the guy behind added. “I made it home for dinner before the street lights came on. If I didn’t, she’d take my bike away.”
“Did she ever claim it?” I asked.
I dared ask what makes the apple fritter worth the wait.
“Lots of apples, spices, and glaze. And it’s huge,” said the man behind. “The best flavor and bargain around.”
“It’s a family tradition,” said the other man.
Another homecoming-powerful and delicious.
We walked inside the building where the men pointed to a counter loaded with their knotty, glazed favorite.
“There they are, and there’s plenty left.”
The fritter lovers relaxed.
“So, what brought you here?” asked the guy who grew up in Hazel Park.
“I guess to reminisce,” I said. “My senior year in high school my boyfriend and I double dated with another couple here. I’ve not been back since.”
“It’s a lot different now,” the man in front said.
I nodded. “I’d never visited a cider mill back then. The day was beautiful, just like today. We walked the trails. But I can’t remember the taste of cider and doughnuts.”
“Well, now you can make up for it. I highly recommend the apple fritter,” said the man who rode his bike to Yate’s.
Dear Reader, I avoided the bodily damage of the fritter, sat with a nutty doughnut, and recalled the days I escaped the house on my bike and soared in toe jumps before bleachers filled with fans.
Then I boasted the limp of an old cheerleader and took a stroll along the river. Who couldn’t linger in such a lovely homecoming?
Email Iris at irisleeu@sbcglobal.net.