Friday, June 10, 2005
my fruitful youth
When I was little I spent my summer days, from dawn to dusk, doing whatever I pleased. I once took on the project of covering the apple tree with nails. I don't know why no one stopped me from doing this because I killed that poor tree. I also used all of my father's nails. After I nailed them all into the poor tree, I wound yarn and ribbon from one nail to the next. It was really a sight to see...and would have been an even better project if I hadn't killed the poor tree.
My friends and I were quite fond of eating the tiny sour fruit from this particular tree. We would always eat way too many and would roll around on the ground groaning with a stomach ache. Still, we were sad to see this tree die. There was another apple tree which bore "wine apples". We couldn't climb this tree and when the apples fell to the ground they were rotten and slimy. We'd slip on them all the time. My grandfather used to pluck them from the tree (he was taller, you see) and take out his whittlin' knife to cut chunks of apple for a little snack. They were sweet and we never once had a stomach ache from those beauties.
We children ate quite a bit from "the fat of the earth". If we were out playing and were in the alley behind Mr. Hancock's house we ate cherries from his tree...and cherry tomatoes from his garden! We suckled honeysuckle...I even once plucked a big tigerlily from Viola's garden and tried it as well. I didn't die so it must not be poisonous but it didn't taste nearly as nice as honeysuckle. If we were playing in the backyard and needed a snack, we'd pull radishes and carrots straight out of our garden, beat the dirt off using the side of our leg and maybe (just maybe) we'd rinse it off with the garden hose. I distinctly remember the grit of dirt between my teeth so I'm sure this sort of thorough cleaning happened only rarely.
Next I'll tell you about my television summer, lest you think I was purely a nature girl.