Peaches, past and present

Posted 7/20/22

Some stories live in a bittersweet memory, containing both fondness and infamy alike. 

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Peaches, past and present


Some stories live in a bittersweet memory, containing both fondness and infamy alike. 

When it comes to living out here, there’s more than a fair share of opportunities for these subtle dichotomies to arise. When we bought our first peaches of the season, I was reminded of one such instance. 

My dad loves peaches, perhaps to an unhealthy level, but given all the addictions out there, I hardly count it as a vice. 

He was always in pursuit of a handy supply of the sweet fruit, and when the opportunity arose, he would take my sister and me in gluttonous fervor to harvest what we could. 

Fortunately for him, there was a large peach tree near the end of the driveway at the bed and breakfast he used to run. The tree was perhaps one of the taller peach trees I’ve seen in my limited travels; it grew right on the side of the road, and bore a hearty load of fruit every year. 

One year, while harvesting the peaches, my sister and I climbed up into the tree and swung as hard as we could to shake the peaches down. My dad had set up a large tarp with blankets underneath to soften their landing.  

After picking the last holdouts, we had perhaps a 50-gallon drum full of peaches. My dad would eat nearly half of that to satisfy his cravings in the few short weeks to follow, and would freeze or save any that tried to expire before he could consume them. 

I had yet to acquire a taste for peaches at that point, but enjoyed picking them all the same. After all, it was only one tree, and it was normally a fairly fun half hour or so. 

A few years of this went by. My dad always got his peaches, whether or not we were able to help, and it seemed the tree would remain as an annual treat for the family. 

But this was not to be. (Dun, dun, dunnnn)

Also near the end of the driveway was a bridge crossing the creek that flowed past the property. It had been neglected for a number of years before sustaining damage during one of the big floods—the ones said to only come once every hundred years, but seemed to come back-to-back for a few years there. 

Remarkably, the state actually came out to fix and replace the bridge. Unremarkably, in their infinite wisdom they decided they needed far more space than I would presume was really necessary. 

It was mid-June and the peaches had blossomed, promising another good year of fruit come July. Unfortunately, with mere weeks until the peaches were ready, the bridge crew began clearing the surrounding roadside. We hoped—and I’m sure my dad requested—that they would not clear as far as the tree since it was 100 feet or more from the construction site and not on what we would have thought of as usable ground. 

Alas, our tree fell to the saws and shovels of public transit. That wasn’t the worst part, though. As if to spurn our mourning peach-loving hearts, the crew leveled off the ground around the stump and placed a port-a-potty directly where the tree had stood. You could say we felt pretty poopy about it.

Dad jokes aside, it was a sad day but reality, and a reminder that nothing lasts forever.

The way out here we enjoy what we have while we have it, make the best of it, and take it in stride when it’s time to close a chapter on it. While that peach tree is no more, my wife and I are blessed to have a good contact for peaches these days. What’s more, I’ve been feeling the itch to plant the fruits of tomorrow—peaches, among other natural treats. Who knows what my boys will reap one day or be inspired to grow themselves.

story, family, peaches


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