The soybeans in the field are ready to be harvested. The deer will soon lose their perfectly set and bountiful table. That fertile acreage will become barren once again. Fall will give way to winter and the wicked wind will rule the space. Thanks to the tall cedar trees my late father and I planted, a barrier has been established.
Several years ago, we harvested small seedlings from our pasture and replanted them appropriately. The windbreak is efficient and blocks the brunt of its impact. We created a natural habitat for the birds wintering over and a cold weather friend to my little blue house. Some things were meant to be -- planting day lives on!
With a half-eaten Gala apple in hand, I checked out the persimmons in the pasture. I found several lying on the ground, some sweet as sugar and one very astringent. I opted to finish the apple and got my palate in order. I'll get back to that later.
Nature provides us with so much to gather in autumn. However, I have never acquired a taste for pawpaws, a favorite of my dad. They do not tempt my taste buds. I leave them untouched to fall from the trees and rot in the leaves or to be eaten by some grateful woodland critters with acquired taste for the "Indiana banana."
In 1991, shortly before my mother's death, Paul and Dad unleashed a few beagle hounds and ambled down the path toward our field. They were hoping to scare up a rabbit or two and put the four-legged hunters on track. Dad was a dog trainer, but first and foremost he truly enjoyed his pastime/hounds and hunting.
On that day, he had pawpaws on his mind. The seasoned woodsman appreciated their value. The men were gone for some time, as usual.
My mom suffered from Alzheimer's. She asked me where they were, repeatedly. I assured her they would be coming home soon. The chase was getting closer. Sure enough, exhausted dogs and happy hunters came moseying back down the leaf-laden path from which they started. The men looked like two pregnant guppies. Their T-shirts were pulled up beyond their waist-lines and they were bulging from a full load of black skinned pawpaws. I had to laugh at those old kids. They unloaded their bounty on the already fully occupied old table on the back porch, at the home place. Their white T-shirts were covered with pulp, wet from juice and heavily soiled. Dad said, with a boyish grin on his face, "Mom I brought you some Indiana bananas."
She didn't acknowledge Dad directly, but she started singing lyrics from a song, as she often did, in those days. "Yes we have no bananas" and more came rolling out of her mouth. Her face remained expressionless until we all laughed. She joined in. The moment was priceless.
Today, even though I dislike pawpaws, the simple thought of those trees in fruition never fails to conjure up that memory and life with Mother and Dad.
Paul is allergic to pawpaws. He said he ate them once when he was young. He broke out in hives. Since, he leaves them alone.
Paul has a drawer full of clean white t-shirts waiting to be stained. Since his surgeries, the recuperated patient has complained of tender skin in the affected area-namely his abdomen. Fact is, the harvest might be beneficial to him -- the juice of the fruit and the sap of the spindly little trees render tough meat tender. That said I think I'll pass on the pawpaws and find something similar at Wal-Mart.
This month was the reunion of the class of 1956, Brazil High School. Paul and I were visited by two of its members, Ron Kibbe and Kenneth Goetz. Ken lives in Lake Montezuma, Ariz. The men have been friends since childhood, and they are mutual friends of ours. We enjoyed reminiscing about days gone by. It is nice to know good people.
Two of my father's cousins visited with Paul and I, recently -- Bill Lynch and Fred Lynch. Fred lives near Dayton, Ohio. He visits this area and his local relatives twice a year. This time we were honored he included us. That too was a pleasure.
I would like to congratulate our eldest grandson. Michael Risk, of Brownsburg. Michael was promoted to manager of a Sherwin-Williams store in Crawfordsville, Ind. Michael is 22 years of age. He is also a student at IUPUI in Indianapolis. We are very proud of the hard worker, and wish him much success in his future endeavors.
I can be reached at 446-4852 or drop me a line at 613 North Elm Street, Brazil, IN 47834