Friday, October 18, 2013

A woman, a dog and a walnut tree, the more you beat them the better they be. (?) ---Thomas Fuller (a churchman and historian)

I pulled into a little lot where the signage indicated tractor part sales. But I could tell I was in the right place to let go of these walnuts. There were orange bags stacked high on palates. There was a truck backed up to an area where a small crew was shoveling from the bed. At least five trucks of all sizes pulled in after me. I got out and went inside. The lady behind the counter acted as if I was on my own with this process and told me to line up outside.

I go back out to the truck and think everyone and his brother showed up while I was in there with my brief inquiry. Most everyone wearing flannel shirts and blue jeans with black walnut stain, work boots, missing their teeth, looking like hygiene was not one of the important elements of the day. And…most had a cigarette hanging from their lips. I backed up toward the area cause I knew I should be next and while they were still shoveling out of the same truck I noticed coming in, I walked over to one of the fella’s at the station.

“I’m foreign to this process,” I yelled over the noise of the hulling machine.

“You’re what?” He responded with a look of confusion.

“I ain’t done this before,” I yelled back.

“Oh! He said and pointed toward the line across the parking lot. “Go get in line.”

“I believe I was here before all those in line already, Sir.” Fortunately one of the fellow workers has seen me pull in, probably noticing me due to having a golden child hanging out the back window and he shouted, “She was here first, I seen her!”

So, I got my place and backed the truck in. Two of the fella’ s wearing flannel shirts and caps, one with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth started shoveling. I started asking questions…cause for one thing, I was foreign to the process having picked up walnuts as a child, but not been a part of the selling. For another thing, when you feel out of place, like you walked into another world, it helps with the anxiety level to chat someone up.  

The hulling machine had a belt that lifted the walnuts up to be hulled. As they were hulled it spit the refuse out to the right down another belt into a bed of a truck. To the left it spit out the walnut (still in the shell). A poochy bellied fellow wearing jeans and a white t-shirt stood there with an orange mesh bag catching the walnuts as they came out. His poochy belly was accented by the walnut stain on his t-shirt which seemed to indicate his belly’s frequent contact with the product.

Evidently, I was a threat…This is the second time this week I’ve been a threat but I’ll save the first experience for another day. This day, standing beside my truck, as the flannel shirt wearing country man shoveled walnuts from the bed of my truck into the hulling machine, with a partial cigarette hanging from his lips, I was treated as a threat yet again.

She was walking up behind me as I asked about the use of the discarded hulls. He slowed and explained they drove it "up the hill there", pointing in the direction, and "spread it out…it's like a fertilizer." She swoops in, refreshes his front flannel pocket with a new pack of cigarettes. He never stops working, they move together as if they have practiced this many times. Without stopping she picks the partial cigarette from his lips, plants it in her lips, glares at me and walks away. I was so relieved she “marked” him like that cause it would have been a real career changer for me if I had been given the opportunity to fall for him.

Three and a half mesh bags of walnuts. The fellow with the walnut stained t-shirt weighed my product and gave the blue memo note to the fellow that almost had my heart before Cruella stepped up. It read 177 …He told me to take it inside and the lady behind the counter would cut me a check. I thanked him for his help and pulled up to the door. The lady wrote out a check and handed it me. Yep, folks, $13.00 per 100 pounds after hulling…my truck bed almost full held 177 lbs hulled. The check for $23.01 was accepted with a smile and a thank you.

When I walked back through the door viewing all the trucks with the women and men waiting their turn to dump and gather a small check that will probably just cover their carton of cigarettes, their desperateness hung heavy in the air…and Me in my dark Gap jeans tucked into my snazzy orange rain boots, my clean black shirt getting into a nice Toyota truck, sporting a well feed, beautiful golden child…yep, when at all possible, I'm driving Ms Daisy… I felt so out of place and like I had mocked them.

Might seem nutty to you, but regardless, I did drive away with a feeling of accomplishment; for the life experience, the enlightenment, the connection with country.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree?

This year was the first year I’ve ever had a fruit tree produce and allow a harvest. I’ve picked up apples full of bugs, lots of bruising, with worms, attractive on the outside but rotten on the inside, some tart, some sweet, and small knobby and full of juice ones. My thinking has been stewing about “the apple falling” every since the harvesting started.
I’ve heard it over and over again…by people reading about problem children, about teens who are into troubled times and on call after call…as co workers have to start dealing with children of repeat offenders…saying, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
Well, may I suggest, the fate of the apple…is not up to the tree.
I’ve seen great guilt over a child’s behavior as well, as the child embarrassed by a parent’s behavior. I’ve seen parents frustrated with their children’s behavior, embarrassed at times, and so put out that they are ready to disown them. I’ve seen parents not recognize the precious “fruit” they have produced and the joy they bring to others. I’ve seen parents just not care about the harvest.
And I have something to say…cause nature teaches us along the way if we pay attention.
Think along the lines of the apple tree…How can so many different apples fall from the tree? In the process of bloom to “the fall” many things can happen that will enhance or take away from the desired function. Fungus, bugs, birds, worms, animals, weather (lack of/heavy rains, heat/cold) to name some…So when “the fall” occurs…being produced by said tree or the short distance it falls from said tree, neither are responsible for the condition…or usefulness of the apple.
These “apples” that don’t fall far from the tree…mentioned by folks who think the parents are always responsible for the actions of the child…these “apples” are more precious than any fruit. So many experiences can determine the usefulness of these “apples”…that the parent tree cannot prevent or just didn’t see it coming so to prevent. Think about worms such as a sexual predator or the teen who is introduced to drugs by “a friend.” Think about media, the influences music, movies, television have on the developing mind. Think about nutrition and how the lack of can affect brain cell growth and health. Think about education, how the lack of it or the false teachings can affect the mind. Are these not just like the many causes that affect an apple on the tree?
Again I suggest, the fate of the apple…is not always up to the tree.
 “Train up a child in the way it should go and when it is old it will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Notice it doesn’t say, “Train up a child and it will never make mistakes.” Notice it doesn’t say, “Train up a child and you are totally responsible for all of their actions.” It does suggest…there are choices involved…and they are up to the child…and all the parent is responsible for is the training.
When I was in first grade, I checked out the same book every week from the school library. It got so that the librarian said I had to wait in between checkouts to allow other children a chance. Rain Makes Applesauce  (Julian Scheer(Author),Marvin Bileck(Illustrator)). I loved the nonsense. I loved the illustrations. Now that I’m older I love the idea, that a life process produces beyond what you generally think. For those adult children that think their parents are rotten apples…for those parents who think their children are rotten apples…God makes Applesauce…doesn’t matter the tree…or the condition of the apple…He can make something good from it. I'm not just talking silly talk.
For those parents who feel guilt…for the disease your sweet apple may have, for the choices your sweet apple has made, for the predators that lay hands on your sweet apple…I understand the guilt…but it’s unwarranted.  Guilt is a nasty habit. Work at letting it go. As I’ve learned from a very wise lady… “Life happens and you are not in control. Let the choices of others belong to them. Own your own choices. Let God reign over the evil and wickedness of this world… help make a difference when you can.”
And too...many parents are often given credit for the inspiring behavior of their adult children. When in fact they may have produced the child but another tended the fruit. Which reiterates, my thinking...the fate of the apple…is not always up to the tree.
So consider stoping…stop comparing parents and their children whether it’s giving them credit/responsibility for good/bad behaviors…just stop, it’s like apples and oranges.