Her name was on it in blue pen with the K gone back
and forth over and over where the ink started to flow.
She sat up and opened the bag smelling something new.
Her six year old fingers were quiet and she was
careful not to tear the bag, to tear her name.
The bag was stiff and would give her away.
She would not be able to enjoy it half so much
if the rest of the house were up and busy.
She made her way down the hall to the stairs
passing to look into their bedroom.
Even in the half dark she could see his black
hair against the white pillow case and the one
leg that always escaped the covers no mater how
cold it was.
She was glad he was home.
She had missed him and not just because he
would eat the runny eggs that imprisoned her
at the breakfast table until they disappeared.
He was tall and fast and could outrun her.
On his shoulders she could touch the very
top branch of her favorite peach tree.
He would take her on his calls and talk to
her about stones and streams and saints.
Her feet fell lightly on the stairs but she
paused and waited each time one creaked.
She left the lights off and the bird covered
in the dining room and found the kitchen
with the sun just starting to make a pattern
on the yellow and black linoleum.
Cross legged on the floor she tucked her
nightgown under her bare legs against its
chilled hardness and opened the bag less
It yielded a soft suede pouch gathered
at the top with a leather cord.
It was brown on the back side
and turquoise on the front with
the words she would learn later as
'DALLAS TEXAS' embroidered
on it. She held it up to her nose
and smelled the scent of leather
and cigarette smoke. It was lovely
and special and a mystery.
She opened the puckered top and
another smell was released into the
empty kitchen- rubber.
A pink rubber ball and ten tiny metal
jacks spilled onto a bright yellow square.
She knew how to play but had never
gotten above six but these jacks were smaller
so she started to bounce and grab.
The ball flew into the air and the silver jacks came
right to her over and over one more each time without a miss.
St. Bernadette put the final sweep of ten into her palm.
One by one she kissed each jack, and then the rubber
ball with its bitter taste, as they were dropped back
into their leather home. Her finger traced the letters
she would learn to say later and even still later would
live there with her own child.
For the moment the day was as golden as the linoleum.
The peach tree was not yet cut down in a rage
and the flow of empty beer bottles, that even the powerful
Bernadette could not staunch, had yet to intrude on
She had made ten.
Ten was perfect.
-Kat Cavanaugh LaMantia
Novelist Tom Robbins is often quoted as saying, "It is never too late to have a happy childhood." I agree. I want to agree. My faith in the One who loves me best helps my happy choices.
How many of us have had one peach tree or another uprooted, chopped down, plowed under? Countless, I imagine. I grew up in an alcoholic family system that not only bled our bank accounts (including our little piggy banks) but bled out trust. A hard thing to recover. So many of my adult choices were due to the dysfunction in my childhood or a reaction against it.
I had mostly eight good years before spin the beer bottle began to strip away the happiness from our family. In that time I began to be drawn to the Lord whom I would later fully embrace. In those eight years my father planted some good seeds and I have some wonderful memories of them. The ones that followed were a different story. I will not elaborate. Forgiveness is the fruit of the most sacred Tree.
Suffice it to say that I learned to plant my own peach trees. I wanted peaches and I was not getting enough waiting for charity. I got a shovel. I grabbed up the "whatever things" admonition of scripture and drew up plans for an orchard.
If you have peaches you can eat well and you can share. You don't have to be stuck with a hole in the ground. If there is something you miss, if there is a godly way to get it, then go for it. Why wait for someone else to beautify your emotional landscape when you have the best gardener in the universe as your Father? You get your talent from Him.
Can't replace that exact thing? Substitutes are allowed. Start planting and when your yard is full of whatever it is that comforts your heart, just step over the fence and keep on going.
The world needs your peaches.
Who listens to the Word will find good, and happy is one who trusts in the Lord.- Proverbs 16:20
My favorite tree as a child was a peach of peach at the far end of our yard. It got the ax and when I couldn't stop thinking about it as an adult, I thought about planting my own. At the time I did not have a yard of my own so I planted my peaches in the yards of poor children around the world. Beauty for ashes. I just may see those peaches in Heaven.