There are a few smells associated with fall. There is the smell of cinnamon, the smell of a campfire, the smell of a child’s vomit after too much Halloween candy (a smell comprised of two parts Snickers’ bar, one part Tootsie Pop, and four parts stomach lining).
One big smell people always think of, though, is apple.
This seems like a strange smell to think of. I eat apples in the spring and summer. There’s even a chance I will eat one in the winter, although more likely I will be in the midst of a comfort food binge, hoping to put on that winter weight before my long hibernation. By hibernation, I of course mean sitting on my couch with the TV on.
Apples are actually a fruit that always seems to be around. Try to think of the last time you went to the Supermarket and saw a sign that said “Sorry! We’re all out of Apples! Why don’t you try a delicious Pear instead? We also have some questionable cantaloupes two for $1.50.”
Since this fruit is put into people’s face holes year around, what possible connection could this fruit have with the fall?
While there may be several reasons (I’m too lazy to see if there are multiple causes), one reason is for sure: September 26th is Johnny Appleseed’s birthday!
For those who aren’t familiar with the story of Johnny Appleseed, it goes like this:
Once upon a time, there was a man named Johnny. Johnny was an odd person, so he decided to walk the countryside, planting apple seeds all while wearing a pot on his head. While I don’t know why the pot would have been worn, I’m guessing to protect his skull from falling apples. Anyway, Johnny continued to do this until, one fateful day, he died. Theorists say that he was killed by apple tree merchants because his free tree planting was really hurting their business.
(Just so you know, the only parts of that story that were made up involve the reason for his wearing a pot and how he died. The rest is a true folktale, thus making Johnny Appleseed look like a complete loon.)
Of course, this is the folktale version of Johnny Appleseed. The real version is not quite the same.
While pretend Johnny planted apples because he was mentally ill and loved to throw seeds on the ground, the real Johnny was an entrepreneur. He would go across the country planting nurseries. He would then hire locals to watch his nurseries, tending to them once every couple of years. While folktales would have you belief that Johnny Appleseed was a free spirit, planting seeds everywhere, he was actually a 1700’s apple tycoon!
Another thing about Appleseed is the real reason he traveled the countryside. No, it wasn’t all because of apples. It was also because he was a Swedenborgian missionary.
Swedenborgian missionaries spread the word of Emanuel Swedenborg, a theologian who is known for being a Christian mystic. This meant that Emanuel was a Christian who believed he could converse with spirits from Jupiter and had psychic powers. He was a great influence to J. Appleseed, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the Swedish Chef (“SwedenborK Börk Börk Börk!!!”) amongst others.
What this teaches us is that Johnny Appleseed’s hat and apple planting did NOT prove he was crazy. In fact, it was his love for that psychic, space traveling theologian Emanuel Swedenborg that proved it.
Despite all of this, though, Johnny is a hero. Without him, we would not have easy access to apples, applesauce, apple pie, apple juice, or apple bottom jeans and boots with the fur. Actually, he probably didn’t have much to do with that last one.
So when you smell an apple pie and think, “Ah! Fall!” remember that this is because that nutty missionary apple tycoon Johnny Appleseed went out of his way to make money and convert Native Americans to a crazy, space related religion.
Thank you, Johnny Appleseed. Anytime I see an apple or a man wearing some sort of cooking utensil on his head, I will think of you.
You, Johnny Appleseed, are king of the fall.