An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of July 1, 2001
issued from the woods just south of Natchez, Mississippi, USA

JUNE APPLES

The plantation's orchard is in bad shape. Most of its trees have died and been cleared away, leaving only three apple trees, a number of pear trees, and a grassy meadow. Diseases, the recent drought and general neglect have taken their toll. Nothing seems to kill the pear trees, however, and the three remaining apple trees produce more than we can eat, to the raccoons' advantage.

Saturday I went apple gathering. I tarried beneath a tree and while gazing across the meadow where once dozens of varieties of fruit trees flourished, chomped down on a tart but sublimely juicy and tasty specimen that was green, with just a touch of burgundy on its shoulders.

As I ate I couldn't avoid remembering something from the Real McCoys, a TV show I watched with my family back in the 60s. In that episode a "city slicker" visited the McCoy farm. He was the most handsome, rich, physically powerful and certainly the most sophisticated person any of the McCoys had ever seen. The whole show was about how the McCoy men-folk dealt with their jealousies. At the end of the show Luke, the family's father, in a gesture of goodwill, and perhaps surrender, offered the departing visitor an apple. The visitor grimaced and said that with all his cares his stomach couldn't take it.

The show ended with Luke thinking that maybe his life wasn't so bad after all, as he chomped into that apple with full abandon.

Today I'm being glad that at this age I've managed to come down on the Luke side.

You may enjoy reading a page of my "Walks with Red Dog" entitled June Apples. This page describes another of my June-apple memories. It's at http://www.backyardnature.net/r/reddog05.htm.