Peanuts Under The Apple Tree

In the corner of my yard, next to the shed, is an apple tree. It’s a small tree, but this year the yield is amazing. We have apples galore. The branches provide good shade. Under the tree is a great dirt patch, perfect for Tonka Trucks, green army guys, Hot Wheels… you get the idea.

Well a couple months ago, at the start of baseball season, my son discovered shelled peanuts. It’s a bit messy but ten times cooler than eating them from a jar!

We started snacking on them out under the apple tree, where we can toss the shells on the ground and not worry about cleaning up. He likes to lick the salt off a couple shells and usually eats five or six peanuts to my half pound!

A couple weeks ago, Keenan asked me if I’d want to go eat peanuts in the shell with him outside. We finished the bag last time we went out and I’d not replaced it. Luckily I found a can of mixed nuts and improvised. He asks great questions when we’re out there snacking. I’m blown away by his train of thought. It’s amazing to witness a learning mind developing.

We went to an Everett Aquasox game last weekend. (Our local minor league baseball team) I bought a new bag of shelled peanuts for the occasion. We enjoyed some at the game, we shared with friends, and we still brought most the bag home! We also got to run the bases after the game but if I get into that story I promise I’ll lose track of where this is going.

Last night my wife had to leave for the evening and I was in charge of dinner and bath time. No big deal, I’m a pro! I’ve got veggie yakisoba ready to rock! My daughter is into it and pretends to cut carrots while I chop up the rest of the veggies. Keenan starts asking if I’ll go have peanuts under the tree with him.

“Not now buddy, we’re making dinner. Do you wanna help with the celery?”

He mumbled about not being hungry and stomped to his room.

The stir fry was epic! I split some of the veggies off into a second skillet so I could add some cayenne peppers from the garden. Note to self: next time use gloves while handling garden peppers!

“Daddy? Are you done cooking yet?”

“Almost stud-muffin, do you want rice too?”

“You wanna go outside with me?”

“We can eat on the porch buddy, want rice with soy sauce? (a current favorite of his)”

“Uuuuuhhhhhhhh, hmmmmmmffff”

I dished up the plates, added rice and soy sauce the the kid’s and set up shop on the deck. They both devoured the rice. Hattie ate some noodles and a healthy amount of onions and carrots, wasn’t fond of the cabbage. Keenan did not touch the yakisoba.

It got pretty late, we watched a bit of Nick Jr. and got in our pajamas.

Today at work the scene of dinner prep replayed in my head roughly a trillion times. I can’t believe I didn’t catch on. Somehow that dinner was more important than the five minutes of shelling peanuts under the apple tree. I knew I had to grab those peanuts once I got home and see if he’s still interested.

We had our peanuts. One had three nuts in it, then we found one with four! We discussed sticker bushes, and if all of them have blackberries, he told me about how Hattie said carrots to the team OomiZoomie episode but she was wrong and he laughed. I laughed too, but explained that laughing too much can hurt feelings. I sucked the salt off a shell just to remember.

A minute ago I went on Facebook. A friend shared Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s In The Cradle” video. I hope my son wants to be just like me. I embrace the tough decisions I have to make to be sure I’m not the dad in the song. I hope I’m like my father.

Go play catch, go fishing, or go eat peanuts under the apple tree. You won’t regret it.

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