What a Long, Strange Trip to a Michigan Cider Mill

by Jeremy Eccles

With the exception of a 14-month stretch, I’ve been married, technically, since 1998. My first marriage dissolved in July 2004 and I began dating my second wife in November that same year. Consequently, I only had a four-month period of being bona fide single. Honestly, I don’t recall too many highlights during this interval, including the below tale. Still, it’s at least mildly amusing.

An observation I have made is that some folks love matchmaking. I don’t know why. It rarely, if ever, works and it’s an excellent way to alienate and possibly lose a friend. One such cupid was a former sitter for my son. She quickly discovered that I was now on the market (bull or bear one?) and she began to concoct her perverse potion. In particular, I was set up on a (partially) blind date with one of the moms who had kids under our sitter’s watch. It was partially blind, since the mom apparently had seen me and gave the go-ahead. Well, you would have thought this would have puffed me up a bit. Oh no, instead, my initial reactions were she must desperate, lonely, and overall a truly pathetic loser.

Off of U.S. 127 between Lansing and Mt. Pleasant, Uncle John's Cider Mill provides a romantic destination to take a blind date and her accompanying foul-mouthed offspring.

Off of U.S. 127 between Lansing and Mt. Pleasant, Uncle John’s Cider Mill provides a romantic destination to take a blind date and her accompanying foul-mouthed offspring.

So, on that positive note, I began to obsess over how I could get out of this mess. As it turns out, the suggested outing involved not just her, but her kids, my three-year-old son, and myself. Excellent, now I’m subjecting the product of my zygote to this torture.

Furthermore, the plan was to visit Uncle John’s Cider Mill in St. Johns, a popular autumn destination for Mid-Michiganders. It’s approximately a half-hour drive, hence awkward small talk (I might be the world’s worst small talker) would accompany the journey. Plus, I had been to the destination before and it’s difficult to draw children away from all of the attractions (rides, horses, mazes, etc.). It’s also often crowded and what if I see someone I know or get infected by germs and dangerous parasites from other homo sapiens?

Unfortunately, my sitter let it slip (perhaps a slip) to my son about the rides and the destination. I have an incredibly difficult time facing his sadness and disappointment, so, reluctantly, I agreed. I spoke with my “prospect” once over the phone prior to our meeting, but due to my indulgence with adult beverages during the chat (as a means of overcoming my anxiety), I virtually forgot the entire conversation.

Fortunately, one item I do remember is that she planned to pick me up from the house, since she had the larger vehicle. Upon arrival in her gas guzzler, emerged one child after another. Considering the volume of children, I swear it must have been a clown car, with each subsequent child trumping the previous ones in mullet-ness and f-bombs. Moreover, the mother’s reaction to her litter of young’uns was to instruct them to “shut the f– up and get in the truck.” I also noticed that while it’s common for siblings to resemble one another, the dominant gene for these young ones was frightening. I didn’t push it, but I sensed she had patented a redneck cloning device to ensure her army was cohesive.

Well, then we got in the vehicle and the adventure began — but that’s another saga.

Jeremy Eccles is a native Okie, who moved to Michigan in 1999. He is an educator and has been in school for virtually his whole life. He prefers this environment to the real world. Listening to music (largely acoustic), watching obscure (mostly foreign) films, and reading anything written well, are some of his pastimes. Jeremy is probably a kinder person than the misanthrope he apes so convincingly.


2 thoughts on “What a Long, Strange Trip to a Michigan Cider Mill

  1. I agree, Jeremy; small talk is the worst. On one hand, I’d be interested to hear how the rest of that trip went. On the other hand, I appreciate you sparing us… Regardless, thanks for sharing!

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