*This was blog was begun over a year ago and completed today.
So today I spent a little time on me. I took off a bit early and decided to do a little retail therapy just because. I drove 30 minutes to an outlet center near my work and had a few stops in mind. At this outlet center I visit the following stores: Merrell, Eddie Bauer, Columbia, Ann Taylor and Rocky Mountain Chocolate. Sometimes for fun, I throw in Old Navy (they used to carry the perfect T… and it was perfect.. so of course it disappeared but I enjoy a good hunt.)
So, I came for a sweater, a grey, soft, hooded yarn wonder. I tried it on in Chicago and didn’t buy it, so I journeyed to the middle of Iowa and scored! That was thing I was after. So I made my stop at Ann Taylor, I found a pair of checkered slacks.. that’s right checkered.. $13.. and two sweaters and made my way to the register. As I was checking out, I hear a voice call my name. I turn around and was greeted by the smiling face of my friend Corie from long ago, 40 years exactly. What a lovely surprise! we chatted, hugged and even selfied.. because what are the chances we would meet up in an Iowa outlet mall?? It was fate. I believe that. 100% .
As I made my way to the car (there is something about that mall, it is always cold and always a breeze) I realized i had forgotten something… a caramel apple. They are a weakness of mine and there is a store in the mall.. how convenient. Now it’s the purchase of an apple that i will write about today.
There is something deeply satisfying to me about a perfect apple, dripping in caramel and chocolate. Yes, there are healthier ways but every once in awhile, I like it decadent. So there is a great little shop located just off I-80 in Iowa. It’s a chain but….the apples are yummy. As you enter the shop the scent of chocolate envelopes you, it wraps around you like a comforter and you feel content. As I take those first few steps in the door, I am greeted with a cheery hello and then I see the case, it’s like a beacon in the night, like there should be a light above and angels fluttering around.. inside that case..the apples.. Coated in caramel, chocolate, butterfinger, pecans, cookies.. you name it.. they probably have it. My favorite is the Tiger Apple.. (I think that is the name.. pecans, caramel and chocolate.) As I wait in line I peruse the other goods, chocolates as far as the eye can see. Chocolate covered orange peels, creams, caramels, truffles and more. On the countertop, jam packed with assorted goodies wrapped in crisp cellophane and sealed with gleaming gold stickers. Among those items is the second treat I always buy, carob coated dog bones. My dogs love them. It’s a win, win.
As I step up to the counter, I place my order and the cheery clerk asks the first question, sliced or whole? Sliced please. This request comes with specific instructions on when it should be eaten (as if that was necessary!) The apple is placed in the small paper basket (think French fries at the fair) and put into a crisp white paper bag along with a few hand wipes. I pay for the apple and the mandatory dog bones and out the door I go.
I get in the car with the full intention of driving home and enjoying it there (sometimes I do), but today was not one of those days. I barely make it out of the parking lot and I realize I should pull over and “arrange” the apple in easy to reach sections since it is going to be eaten on the drive home. As I pick up the first lovely, gooey caramel covered slice and bite, it’s pure Nirvana. The melding of those fabulous flavors, the crispness of the apple, the heaviness of the chocolate resting on the caramel as if to hold it in place, with a strategically placed pecan for aesthetic appeal and a salty compliment to the sweetness of caramel, apple and chocolate…Divine. As I continue the drive, one by one I savor the slices, each making me a little happier with each bite.
It is amazing that something as simple as an apple can bring such joy. But it does, at least for me.
I wish for you to find some simple joy to make your day.
Until Next Time,