H. Neal Glanville: Escape from the orchard
While wiggling my way down to a fishin’ hole I needed to skirt some private property.
Somehow, the leg of my jeans got hung up on the middle row of barbed wire. I started laughing, thinking of the look Jane would give me when I suddenly remembered grandma holding my baby brother Kris’s jeans the afternoon of the great green apple raid.
It started out as most summers, three brothers enjoying each second of free time.
Fishing, exploring old haunts and searching out new ones.
Every so often, we’d sneaky-Pete into Mr. Oniki’s orchard and help ourselves to each fruit – cherries apricots, red apples and our bestest favorite, green apples – as it ripened on the tree.
It was almost a ritual, guessing when each would ripen. Belly aches and diarrhea were common when we guessed wrong, but heck, it was summer, and that was supposed to happen.
Anyway, as life would have it, grandma’s sister’s daughter’s daughter came for a late summer’s visit.
I won’t try to explain the effect a black-haired girl from Ogden, Utah, had on three teenage boys, especially Kris. He was and is the Errol Flynn of the three of us, and all it took for that dark-haired girl to do was giggle about how good a green apple would taste.
Kris tugged on his bill-cap, got that smile goin’, and we knew where we were headed the next morning.
Mr. Oniki was a good and fair man, and often gave fruit away to anybody that asked. For those that didn’t, nothing was spared. He often chased kids with his tractor, waving an old 410 shot gun like it was a Samurai Sword, swearing he’d shoot the next kid he caught in his orchard.
As Scott and I got ready to head out, Kris was busy kickin dirt with the toe of his boot, whispering who knows what in that dark-haired girl’s ear.
“Come on Kris,” Scott whined. “Uncle Blaine’s going to town later, and I want to go.”
We all knew Uncle Blaine wouldn’t take Scott anywhere, but that dark haired girl didn’t, she just giggled, pushing Kris away.
“Hurry back,” she said “I’ll be waiting.”
As we squeezed through Mr. Oniki’s fence, Kris pulled a flour sack from inside his shirt and headed straight for the green apples.
“Do we need that many?” Scott asked.
“Nope,” Kris laughed, “but I’m taking that dark-haired girl out to Bucks pasture and don’t want to run out.”
We both started teasing Kris as we filled the flour sack with his treasure. None of us heard Mr. Oniki’s pick-up truck until it was too late.
Scott heard the door shut and took off like a rocket and didn’t yell anything until he was across the fence.
“Oniki” was all he yelled as his jackrabbit head bobbed out of sight. Kris and I took off at the same time, nose to nose until the fence.
“The sack,” Kris yelled. “I dropped the sack.”
As I cleared the fence, Kris stopped and headed straight back for that sack of apples. He snagged the bag in his left arm just as Mr. Oniki pulled that shotgun from the rack.
“Run, Kris, run!” I screamed “He’s going to shoot.”
Kris tossed the bag over just before he jumped the fence.
“Made it,” he laughed as he landed. He grabbed his butt as I heard the shotgun.
“Damn,” Kris giggled “He shot me.”
We made it home, me carrying the apples, Kris carrying 11 chunks of rock salt in his buttocks. It was one of those times grandpa laughed at our stupidity and grandma fretted over trying to patch Kris’s jeans. I’m not sure, but I’m pretty positive that dark-haired girl from Ogden, Utah, helped with the horse salve on Kris’s injury.
Until next time :
Yup, there I was enjoying a green apple with salt, when I said to myself, “Self,” I said cause that’s what I call myself when I’m talking to myself. “Dark-haired women will do it every time.”
Thank you for your time.
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