I am not a wealthy woman. But we hold our own, my family does. We are never late with our mortgage payment, and my car is a 1999 wagon with over 200,000 miles on her. Family vacations other than a trip to my dad’s in Florida are far and few between. Sometimes I get bummed that I can’t give my girls more – a smart phone, a better wardrobe, a laptop of their own. But there are a lot of little things my girls and I do that add richness to life – things I hope they will look back on when they are older with a warm fondness.

Take today. We went apple picking. There is a family run orchard no more than 5 miles down the road from my house. We’ve been meaning to go for weeks, but mother nature had other plans for the last 3 weekends. Today it is muggy and showers are likely to pop up at any time, so we put on our sandals and headed out to the orchard. Usually the girls and I head to a large orchard that is on top of a mountain – it gives splendid views of Charlottesville and central Virginia – but it is always crowded, and lines are long to have your apples weighed. That’s if you find apples – most of the trees are picked clean with the exception of the clusters at the very top of the trees.

So I was glad to give this small, local orchard a try. What a cute little establishment these folks had! And what a bargain! A peck bag for $6? Yes, please! The sun came out as the girls and I headed down the Golden Delicious aisle, my youngest pulling a wagon. Hell, that alone was worth the price of admission (had there been one). It didn’t take us long to pick enough apples to fill our bag, and it dawned on me. With the orchard so accessible, there was really no reason for us not to come out every weekend if we wanted. A trip to the orchard to grab some apples for a pie or a tart is as easy as heading to the market.

On the drive home I thought how pleasant that was – just 30 minutes out of our day, but the outing was unique – it was memorable. I don’t recall going apple picking as a kid ever. Having lived right outside New York City, a trip to an orchard was a day trip that you had to plan – not an impromptu 30 minute excursion.

I wonder if my girls will have an appreciation for the little things we did as a family when they are older. Perhaps in a small way I’m teaching them that it’s not all about the dollar. That maybe life doesn’t get much better than a $6 peck of hand-picked apples.

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