Stranger than Strange

It was another beautiful weekend in Central PA, and so on Saturday morning Asun and I decided to go take a hike with Waldo and get some apples at Irvin Orchards. We were really enjoying the drive along the ridge road in Micheaux State Forest when all of a sudden we come around a bend and there's a uniformed guy telling us to stop. And not just a uniformed guy, but someone dressed up in WW II garb standing next to an old motorcycle with a sidecar. What the heck is going on? He explained that there was a WW II reenactment going on, "Escape from Normandy", and that we'd have to turn around. Can we watch?, I asked. No, no spectators, it's just for us. Wild. It turns out a bunch of guys had "rented" a part of the forest for their game (drama?) and they just do it for the heck of it. They had a small tank, a couple of jeeps, a cannon, bazooka... I had never come across such a crazy thing. So we turned around, took the long route to our trail head and could hear the gunfire (blanks, we had been reassured) during the first part of our hike. No doubt these guys were out there having a good time and engaging their interest in military history. Nonetheless, it strikes me there is something rather perverse about this kind of activity. The invasion of Normandy resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of individuals and viewed in its entirety, tens of millions of people lost their lives as a result of the conflict. Can you imagine a reenactment of 9/11? Yes, much time has passed, many decades. I don't know, maybe I'm too serious?
In any case, this odd sight reminded me of another very strange experience we had many years ago in Spain, driving back to Malaga along the coast. We were right by the beach on a small road, somewhere in the province of Cadiz, and there were some military exercises going on, with boats a few hundred yards out firing shells right over us. We were driving through a military firing range and no one had turned us back! No kidding. It was rather terrifying.)
After our hike, which was wonderful, we headed back to the ridge road. This time, further down, we could get by, but we did come across some of the "actors", including a few dressed as Nazis. We stopped to say hello, and one guy, perhaps seeing that we were eying his outfit rather nervously, quickly explained that when he does civil war reenactments he's on the Union side. "Sometimes you're a good guy, and sometimes you're a bad guy," he said. I guess that's true.
Well, we did make it to Irvin Orchards and brought home a large quantity of wonderful apples. Yesterday I made an apple pie, but something about is not just right. It's good, but falls well short of the ideal. I guess with some iconic dishes one can't help being somewhat of a perfectionist. One problem was the apples simply didn't soften up enough during baking. I don't know if that has to do with the variety of apple used or not.

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