Pat Shingleton: "Cider and Hard Corn..."
Riverside High’s Varsity “R” Club in Ellwood City, PA, pressed apples from area orchards, selling the cider as a fund raiser. Friday’s crisp autumn weather, always reminds me of this seasonal drink. Cider is made from a blend of late harvest apples. Local grocers carry an apple cider that is pasteurized. The cider I remember was unprocessed and the natural yeasts caused fermentation and carbonation. A fresh gallon of cider had a distinctive zip and tangy taste and after a few days in our cellar it got zippier. My brother Kevin indulged in some “aged” apple cider that became “hard”, prior to a football game. It was one of the best games he ever played, sometimes without his helmet. Also during our younger years, cold, rain or snow never stopped our Halloween preparations. Neighborhood vegetable gardens had lingering stalks of corn still holding an ear or two. Once shucked the kernels were as hard as gravel, easily twisted from the cob. The kernels were separated into paper bags and that’s when the Halloween pranks began - for some. My brother Denis and I didn’t participate in these activities. The Halloweener’s did include the Sudano boys, Dangerous Doug Kelly, Pumpkin Head Hulick, Dumps Wiley, Skunk Tritt and my brothers Kevin and Mike. As Denis and I completed our homework at the kitchen table, assisting my mother in treat distribution, the rattle of hard corn on the windows sounded like a machine gun.