Chis and the Apple Tree

170810_Apples

[ Apples, anyone? ]

August 10 – What I am going to write about in this post comes from a story I remember that took place about 85 years ago. For the first time, one of the new apple trees my dad had planted had fruit on it. Pa took all seven of us out to his special tree telling us not even to touch any of those apples! (Of course, Skeets at 4 years old and Pete a little over 3), didn’t understand the commands. Off he went to work, there were none of my brothers nearby, and Mom was in the kitchen.

I can easily remember how I walked around the tree, trying to figure out how I could get at least one of those spectacular golden fruits. After several tries, I managed to get one of those apples while still keeping Pa’s orders! With my hands behind my back, I stepped as near as I could to one of the limbs that held wonderful, really beautiful Golden Delicious apples. Then I stuck out my tongue and somehow managed (I don’t quite remember how.) to take a couple bites from the apple I chose. After that I very carefully took the same stance and was able to take a bite or two from all eight of the apples!

As I remember, I thought those apples would taste much better than they actually did! Why? I just worried and worried about what kind of a spanking I would get from Pa! But then I really wouldn’t be doing anything he had told us kids not to do. Remember, he said we absolutely shouldn’t pick any of the apples. And I really had obeyed him—or had I?

170810_Family

[ Roy, then Ed, and Frank, (Pete and me), and Rich

That night when Pa had walked the couple miles home, he went down to the apple tree. I cannot imagine what his thoughts were as he found that those apples that had been so beautiful in the morning were now eaten, although they had not been picked. As he questioned each of us, one right after the other, he received a no for an answer each time, starting with my oldest brother Roy. Then Ed, and Frank, and Rich all of whom were older than I was. “Well, Sis, did you eat those apples?” I knew better than to lie, but I was worried about what punishment I would get if I didn’t! Looking down at the ground, and standing very quietly, I said, “No.”

Of course, since all of the older kids hadn’t done anything wrong and weren’t worried about being caught, they stood by the tree, waiting for the guilty one to admit what he had done. But what about me? I was so scared of the licking I would get (Pa didn’t lick us much, but when he did, we could really feel the whack of that stick or his belt whichever he used!) I stuck with my story of being innocent when he asked me the second time.

170810_SadFace

[ Uh-oh, busted! ]

When the questioning was over, Elsie Burnett, one of our teen-age neighborhood kids who had watched and listened to the whole story, waited till Pa and the rest had left the scene. Quietly she came up to me and said, “We all know you ate those apples, Sis, why don’t you tell me, and I won’t tell ANYBODY! Believe it or not, that sounded pretty good to me because I could get it out of my system and nobody would ever know because Elsie wouldn’t tell. She had promised! But promises are not always kept. As soon as I admitted to my “sin”, she raced down the hill from her house to ours and immediately, in a voice I will never forget, told Pa that I was the one who ate the apples.

Looking back on that experience, I am sure that he would rather have had me tell him the truth, rather than letting my former friend tell him. But, you know what? Pa never even spanked me because as he told me many years later, “I think that was punishment enough, when you not only took the apples but lied about it. I hope you will always tell the truth, no matter what might happen to you!” He then gave me a big hug, something he hardly ever did! A hug from Pa was something never to be forgotten. And I really mean it! Oh, and did I mention that he even told me years later that I must have been a smart little girl as I managed to get those apples off the tree without even using my hands! – CHRIS

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