Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Generous Harvest of Apples and Opportunity

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Generous Harvest of Apples and Opportunity

Article excerpt

Mom and dad picked apples in the cool fall Maine air before leaving for Florida. They picked in Charlie Fillebrown's orchard atop Plummer Hill, enjoying the brisk autumn days, the camaraderie of fellow pickers, and Mary Fillebrown's freshly baked apple muffins served at break time. They climbed pole ladders with buckets strapped to their chests, later gently unloading the filled buckets into boxes in the back of Charlie's pickup truck.

At the end of the day, they drove over the dirt road to their rustic cabin on the shores of a small lake. Mom started dinner while Dad stoked up the fire in the black cook stove. After dinner, they would settle down to a quiet evening in the glow of a roaring fire in the fireplace until its warmth lulled them to the edge of sleep.

When my own children were in school and Connecticut's apples needed harvesting, I remembered Mom and Dad's happy fall stint helping to harvest Maine's crop. So I signed on with Max's apple- picking crew in North Haven. Max let me set my own hours - 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. - so I could be home when the children returned from school. He also let me fill the trunk of my old Chevy with "drops," those apples that had fallen to the ground and because of possible bruising were not worthy to be mixed with the hand-picked ones. I became very popular in the neighborhood when I dispensed bags of apples to anyone willing to risk a few with cidery-brown bruises. Sometimes these apples would return to me inside a freshly baked applecake or warm pie. Time passed, and one fall when my college-age son was between jobs, I said, "Why don't you pick apples for Max?" Max was pleased to have another member on his apple-picking crew, and my son was glad to be helping in the harvest, just as I had been a few years earlier, and Mom and Dad before me. At about the same time, I began a job at a small research-and- development firm located in a split-level ranch house on a street zoned for business. …

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