Frozen gooseberries, homemade moonshine, and punctuation gaffes

I SO wanted to buy these frozen fruits, but our cooler was full to the brim!

I SO wanted to buy these frozen fruits, but our cooler was full to the brim:  looky, Mom, frozen rhubarb, and apple slices, and peaches, and gooseberries!!








It was a fun thing to squish into the car with my three younger children:  little Mack, Amalia, and Timothy, and my longsuffering husband Bryan, and to head down to St. Louis to visit our oldest son Matthew and his darling wife Rachel.  Well, “fun” is one word for it.  Possibly “insane” is another.  Also “riotous” and “patience-testing.”  Many more words come to mind.

Did I tell you that Matthew and Rachel are expecting their first baby in a few weeks?  Well, they are.  We are thrilled with this prospect of having another grandbaby, and I guess stuffing ourselves into our car and driving down to St. Louis to work for them for a day was as good a way to channel that excess energy as any.  Right?  Better than sitting around the house and waiting for the ‘phone to ring, anyway.

I’m already starting to wake up and cuddle the new little dolly in my arms.  Our second-oldest son Andrew and his lovely wife Sonia made us grandparents just over a year ago, and I wrote about that wonderful experience here. 

We usually travel in much more style and grace in our large well-appointed Suburban, but since there were only five of us to travel this time, and since our beloved ‘Burb was in the shop, and since gasoline is quite expensive, we opted for the cheaper alternative:  Bryan’s commute car.  Oiy.  And we were taking not only our luggage, and some baby supplies for Matthew and Rachel, but also most of Bryan’s power tools from his shop–to aid in the building project that the boys were going to do.  I don’t know how Bryan stuffed it all in the trunk.  I really don’t.  That man is a magician, honestly.

Lucky I had my camera along, so I could take pictures of interesting sights along the way, since there was no way in the WORLD that I could actually buy anything.  Not even a frozen gooseberry, sadly. Our car was packed that full.

One of our more charming stops (and we made plenty of them!) was at a “Bulk Foods and Produce Store” near Bridgeton, Missouri.  As soon as I stepped in the door, I wanted to just live there.  But first, I wanted to go home and get the Suburban so I could buy something.  Anything, please, honey–just one thing?  Only what you can hold in your lap, my husband said, in the tones of a man who is tired of having his knee caps up against his chin, and maybe more than a little weary of hearing the three children in the back seat complain about stiff legs and hunger and sore bottoms and general crowded conditions.

Anyway, back to the store–there were homemade cheese curds, bulk herbs, homemade Mennonite rolls and breads, and there were bulk foods and produce, too, as promised on the abundant signage . . . also shelves and shelves of homemade jams and jellies.  Honestly, if I hadn’t been so frustrated at not being able to buy anything, I would have taken more pictures to share with you.  Hymns were playing over the speakers.  A fresh-faced Mennonite girl smiled at us from behind the counter.

I enjoy this signage.

I enjoy this signage.  Very earnest.  So if you see these signs, DO TURN NOW!

Finally, after sighing over and over about not being able to buy anything (still sighing, actually), Bryan did allow me to buy a couple of (very small) bags of tapioca, one for my Mom and one for me.  That was it.  But I’m going back.  Mark my words!

Here's the store sign, if you want to look for it yourself.

Here’s the store sign, if you want to look for it yourself.

Well, enough about the squishy overcrowded car and the charming little Mennonite store which I shall return to, soon!

Now to our destination:  Matthew and Rachel’s apartment.  See what we found there:

Isn't this a sweet sight?  I love seeing baby clothes hanging in my son's house!

Isn’t this a sweet sight? I love seeing baby clothes hanging in my son’s house!

Matthew and Rachel’s apartment was charmingly appointed with New Baby Decor, with laundry baskets full of cloth diapers and tiny baby clothes and receiving blankets and the like, waiting for trips through the washer and dryer.  There was an impossibly soft and massive stuffed animal next to the couch, and other baby supplies dotted around. It was very sweet and cozy and pleasantly anticipatory, in the best possible way.

I love that.

We had a great day with our expectant kids-soon-to-be-parents, and before we wanted it to be, it was time to (ugh!) load up the car and head for home.  We saw a few interesting sights on our way home, as you might well expect.  Oh, and since you’re probably wondering, the “Twin Oaks Produce and Bulk Foods” store was closed, it being Sunday.  Alas.

A convenience store was full of interesting sights:

Can you believe that you can buy this stuff at a convenience store?  Apple pie moonshine!

Can you believe that you can buy this stuff at a convenience store? Apple pie moonshine!  Only in Missouri, I’m thinking?


This one looked particularly refreshing, with the cherries filling up the jar.

This one looked particularly refreshing, with the cranberries filling up the jar.

Little Mack wanted this super-long Slim Jim very, very, very much and was tickled when I said I'd buy it for him.  So easy to get this big grin out of this boy!

Little Mack wanted this super-long Slim Jim very, very, very much and was tickled when I said I’d buy it for him. So easy to get this big grin out of this boy!

I made my little Mack extraordinarily happy by spending a mere $1.39.  Can you buy happiness for so little? In this case, yes.  By the way, see that cute little gap-toothed grin?  Those two teeth are loose (as of yesterday) so this grin is going to change shape very soon.

Oh, the humanity!

Oh, the humanity!

My daughter Amalia is as much a punctuation and grammar nerd as I am, so we spent quite a bit of time in a restroom snorting over this signage:  why the quotes around the words “soap and water,” we wondered.  Was the soap and water actually something else, but going by the words soap and water?  And why on earth the optional “s” after disease?  Isn’t the word “disease” in itself enough?  Isn’t the word “disease” as used here already in its plural form, thus not needing the addition of the “s” at all, especially encased in parentheses?

Okay, and there was this one, too:

Punctuation police!  Punctuation police!

Punctuation police! Punctuation police! (Employee’s what, precisely? Only Employee’s bodies, for example?)

Well, I suppose that’s enough glib observations about sights on our trip. I hope something in your day today gives you plenty of chuckles!





18 thoughts on “Frozen gooseberries, homemade moonshine, and punctuation gaffes

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I feel sure that we would have had an even more delightful trip if you had been squished in there with us! Thanks again for your comment!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Thanks Alessa for the comment! What do you know about the moonshine–I figured–the Ozark mountains–of course they make and sell moonshine there! haha!

  1. Chef William

    Now I need to make a trip south. Moonshine mixed with fruit. Actually this must be from a brewery because they do list the proof although I don’t see a tax stamp. That cranberry one is 100 proof, guess it’s not a breakfast item. Great pictures thanks for sharing. I really enjoy Mennonite baked foods when I can get them.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Thanks again for your comments! I heard from others that the apple pie moonshine is actually tasty, and that it is made in North Carolina . . . who knows . . . maybe check some of the gas stations in Wisconsin, maybe they carry it there, too? We live in a Mennonite community, so we can indulge in those baked goods quite often–at least during the summer, if we can snag them at the farmer’s markets.

  2. tim charlton

    Ok, I am sure to be in trouble, but I have to tell you: the apple pie moonshine is pretty good. The others aren’t near as good as they sound, and forget the “regular” moon- it’ll burn a hole out the side of your stomach.
    Awww, so good to live in Missouri 🙂
    And, btw, guess what Dad’s favorite pie is? yep, gooseberry. Usually boughten at the local mennonite store, but have been known to pick enough off the bushes out in the field amidst the mosquitoes and the snakes and briers to furnish a pie or two….

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Tim, honestly, that apple pie moonshine LOOKED tasty. It looked like a really rich apple juice. . . . Tim . . . you’ve tasted them ALL? I love travelling through Missouri, and I always think of you when we do! And I am with your Dad–gooseberry pie is great! Although it’s very close (in my book) to rhubarb in my affections. We have gooseberries around here, but you’re right, it takes quite a lot of patience to collect enough for a pie!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I think you need “sharing” buttons on your blog, too! It took me quite a while to figure that out, myself. I actually just googled “WordPress share buttons” until I found an article that told me about how to do it. It strained my non-techie brain quite a bit, I’ll tell you, but if I can figure it out, anybody can! Let me see if I can find out the name of the plug-in for you.

  3. dramamamafive Post author

    I think it is an “add-this plug-in.” If you add it, it will make a list on your dashboard of social media sites that you can choose (with each post) to have the buttons represented. Hope this helps!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      It has become a sort of game for my kiddos and me. We all find punctuation and grammar mistakes hilarious, don;t you?

  4. The Great Gordino

    Hi Amy,
    Yes, your post did give me plenty of chuckles.
    I enjoyed the image of a frozen gooseberry being crammed into the car, and the fun that would enuse when it ceased being frozen.

    I also rolled my eyes at employee’s

    I think the apple pie moonshine looks viscious, but probably worth a try.

    Cheers, Gordon

  5. dramamamafive Post author

    Thanks GGord, for your observations! And my friend from Missouri says the apple pie moonshine is tasty, so there, now we know!

  6. Helen

    You and I are kindred spirits when it comes to punctuation and grammar being wrong on signs… ugh… If you haven’t already, you MUST read Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Although you don’t know me, trust me. You’ll love it. 🙂

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