|Photo by Elise Hird|
By Monique Fullmer
Inspired by Grandma Jack
A long time ago, like about ninety years, in a far away place called Oklahoma, there lived a little girl named Evie. Evie lived in an unusual place called a farm, where plants grew and the stores and restaurants of the town were very far away.
On this particular day, Evie’s mother needed to go to the store. Before she left, Evie’s mother called her over to give her some instructions. You see, Evie’s mother knew that her daughter loved apples, any kind of apples; sweet or sour, red or green, juicy or dry, with sugar or salt. Evie loved apples. Evie’s mother also knew that the green apples on the tree outside of the kitchen were not ripe and they would give Evie a giant tummy-ache. And, she knew that Evie would eat them anyway.
So, the first thing on the list of Evie’s instructions (because, of course there was a list of chores to do on the farm) was
DO NOT PICK ANY APPLES!
After that, there were things like sweep the floor, milk the cow, bake a peach pie, don’t forget to feed your little brother, hoe some weeds, and feed the chickens. After all, this was a farm, a very long time ago in Oklahoma.
Well, Evie’s mother left for her long trip to the store and Evie decided that she better do the things her mother told her to do. She swept the floor and milked the cow without ever once thinking about that old apple tree outside the kitchen window.
But when Evie started to slice the peaches to bake the peach pie for dinner, (Evie’s Daddy loved pie) she couldn’t help but look out that window at the big, old apple tree loaded with apples. True, the apples weren’t ripe yet, but as peach juice dribbled down her fingers, she could almost taste the tart-sweet, sour juice of a crisp-green apple on the back of her tongue. Evie did love apples. Of course, she remembered her mother’s instructions before she left for the store,
DO NOT PICK ANY APPLES!
So Evie went on with her chores.
As Evie fed her little brother lunch, she imagined munching on a sour apple with salt. As she chopped down weeds in the cornfield, she tasted the cool trickle of sticky apple juice and oh, how she wanted an apple! By the time Evie fed the chickens, she was nearly desperate for one of those green apples hanging from the tree. Suddenly, it struck her. Mother had said,
“DO NOT PICK ANY APPLES!”
She would not disobey her mother, but she simply had to have an apple.
Evie slowly meandered over to the apple tree. She didn’t want to attract attention. At the base of the tree, she looked around to make sure no one was watching. Evie quickly climbed up into the tree. She already knew the perfect fork in the branch where she could sit. She looked around and spotted a plump, shiny, green apple and very carefully, so as not to pluck the apple from its stem, she began to sink her teeth into its firm green flesh. Oh, it was wonderful! It was sour and sweet and puckered her mouth and tasted like crunchy heaven. Evie continued to gnaw away at the apple until only a skinny, scrawny core hung from the limb above her head.
The apple tasted better than any she could ever remember. However, now that it was gone, Evie began to realize that even though she had followed her mother’s instructions, she might still be in trouble. She worried about what her mother would say when she got home. As Evie worried, she felt a little knot in her stomach start to grow.
The longer Evie waited, the more her tummy started to hurt. Soon, the pain in her stomach forced her to go to bed. It was there her mother found her when she got home from the store. Mother realized almost immediately what had happened. She started to tell Evie how disappointed she was that she had disobeyed. Evie quickly pointed out that she had not actually disobeyed her mother. She had not picked any apples. Mother looked out the window at the big apple tree. She saw the skinny, scrawny core still hanging, firmly attached to the tree. A slight smile stole across Mother’s face as she stifled a laugh deep inside.
Evie learned a lesson about life that day. She learned that her mother would often tell her things that didn’t seem to make sense. Yet, if she listened to her mother, she would save herself from tummy aches or headaches or even heartaches. Evie’s mother learned that her daughter was very intelligent and she needed to be careful and very specific when she gave her instructions.
When Evie grew up and had her own little girl, she told her this story. That little girl grew up and told her little girls and now I’m telling it to you. Pass it on.