For season after season Reuben Hopkins waited for the peaches to ripen on that sapling (I call it a sapling only because it never had the chance to get big enough to be called anything else.) peach tree in his front yard. But each year, as the fruit began to ripen, one of us kids would be running back for a “high fly ball to left field” and flatten that poor miserable tree, knocking off all those potentially juicy and “free” peaches, leaving Reuben rather disappointed, to say the least, for another year. But, he never gave up. As he knew we would, we grew up (in some ways) and got to be too big for the Hopkins front yard.
Reuben knew that his chances were improving with time. One year, everything fell into place: We boys had moved down the road to a more open field, the sun and rain were sufficient, and the cycle for that tree was in place, the branches straining to hold up under the weight of tremendous peaches while they grew more and more golden as the summer days went along. Reuben would come home from work eaoh day and on his way toward the house he’d stop and estimate how much longer it would be before he could slurp up the sweet nectar of that first peach: “Just a couple more days; maybe three . ” Even Charlie Freeman admired them as he walked home from work, again.
Well, the Hopkins family, had a few chickens, some ducks, a dog, and a milk cow named Elsie (of course). Came the day that Reuben had decided would be “the” day. He parked his truck down by the garage and fairly trotted toward the tree.
Not a peach left! Fire came from his eyes, smoke from his ears, and never-before-heard curses from his lips. We weren’t even aware yet of the disaster, but we knew we were dead as Reuben started moving in our direction with a certain look of vengeance in his eyes. At that moment, much to our relief, Elsie meandered through the broken fence and moseyed up to the tree, looking for any peaches that she may have missed .