Back in the day’s when our family was young, we lived out among wheat and hay field’s along an Idaho border, with next door neighbor’s-that really were next door-one on either side and then nothing for a space. We were a few miles from our small town and 20 or so miles from the closest "city".
On “Sugar Lane” we grew children, pet’s and gardens, and what one didn’t grow a neighbor did, so we all shared what we had. Front yards blending together as much as the lives of the families.
Eight children combined to liven up our spot among the fields. Our youngest, "Busy Momma", was older by a month than the boy next door, Mr. Smith, they loved to investigate and experience, especially the garden’s.
Where we had raspberries they had strawberries, we had asparagus and they had pea’s, we had apple tree’s and they had plum tree’s.
Mr. Smith's mom had been anxiously awaiting the plums “coming on”, so that she could “put up jam”.
This particular year Momma Smith had been checking the plums every morning, and watched them from the window’s and yard all through the day’s. Mesmerized by both the size and beauty of the plums.
She called me one evening and I wasn’t sure if she was laughing or crying, worried I asked her what was going on.
She told me she was a little embarrassed to confess how closely she watched her plum this year, Telling me, “This morning when I checked them I knew they would be ready tomorrow for picking. I came in making everything ready for the picking, and canning to begin, went back out this afternoon to check them again and every single plum was on the ground!”
I knew the birds could be a problem and wondered if it could have been them-
Each plum that lay on the ground directly under the tree’s had been found with a tell tail bite out of each-and-every-one…
Needless to say in rounding up all eight kid’s in the three home neighborhood telling them of the plum destruction, the guilty parties purple lips and shirts, made it obvious, before, the two youngest started to cry. Confessing that they too had been watching the tree’s. Even closer than they had watched the peas, with ever growing anticipation of fresh plums.
They knew they were ready today.
In the unraveling, they told how they each climbed into one of the two tree’s and had only planed on tasting one or two, but they were soooo good and juicy! Why, every single one they bit into “popped” with the first bite! I could envision the juice fairly dripped off their little chin’s and elbows!
They did each try a second bite once, but it just didn’t "pop" and it was so much more fun taking that first bite!!
None but the two, witnessed the actual bliss of this adventure, but the evidence was seen in the plumless tree’s and the bespeckled lawn below, and not to be missed were those two beautiful little purple stained children.
Following plum harvests were ever more closely guarded, children more involved in the preparation for the harvests, partly so we could keep an eye on them.
The great “Plum Raid” has never truly been forgotten.
Many years have passed since that bitter sweat plum adventure. Those two children now have children of their own.
But every time my daughter see’s a plum, with out fail, she smiles that impish child smile, her mind flying across time, back to that warm afternoon spent sitting high up among the branches of the tree of her youth, and tells me with a twinkle in her eye, “You know Mom? To this day, that first bite of the plum is still my favorite!”.
Smile and remember;
We're fool's whether we dance or not. So we might as well dance.