Thursday, November 11, 2010

Apple-Raining Season~ A Short Story by Rachel Allen

  I have a lot of memories from my childhood. I remember my dog Rio, and my annoying little sister Mel. I remember late nights in the summer and late mornings in the winter. But the things I remember most are Grammy, the apple orchard, and apple-raining season.
   It was the fall of 1998 when I experienced my first apple-raining season. I was 12 years old. We lived out in the county on a little farm. We had sheep and horses and corn fields. But Papa's pride and joy was the apple orchard. Papa had planted each individual tree and nurtured it and cared for it until it was big and tall and healthy like all the rest. Then, in spring, the trees would all be in bloom, and the orchards would be pastel pink, and all the treetops looked like tufts of cotton candy or fluffy clouds just before sunset. Soon, it was summer, then early fall. Pink petals would litter the ground, and then bright orange leaves. Bright red bulbs hung from the branches, dotting the trees. When the first apple touched by the breeze fell to the ground, it was apple-raining season.
   Everyone within a mile of our farm would come with their baskets and bags and crates. My papa would hand out construction helmets. One year, an apple came down and hit my sister. She cried for three hours (I think she just wanted attention). From that day forward, we used helmets when harvesting.
   After the people were split into teams, the strong men shook the trees to loose all the apples that were hanging by a thread. The little children would pick up the apples and take them inside.
   Then came the picking. Ladders were hauled in and set up. Everyone was busy plucking the apples from the trees, while Grammy washed the apples that the children brought in.
   Sometimes I would join Grammy in the kitchen. Crates and buckets covered the floor, and the smell of apples and fall wafted through the air. Grammy would teach me about life and kindness while she scrubbed each fruit. She would talk about love and relationships while she dried them off. I will always remember my time spent in the kitchen with Grammy while the apples rained.
   At the end of the day, everyone would come in from the orchards to enjoy the meal that Grammy and Mama had made. The little dining room was filled with the sound of laughter and clinking silverware.
   The next week was spent preserving apples, cutting and slicing apples, making applesauce, baking apple pies, and planting apple seeds in the orchard. On Friday, everyone would gather at our house with sauce and pies and preserves. Grammy and Mama would cook all day for our friends. One by one, everybody showed up and started trading the fruits of our labor (no pun intended). The night was full of laughter, games, and singing. The lights of our house were on and the kettle was boiling until three in the morning. It was a special gathering of friends, family, and neighbors.
   I learned a lot from apple-raining season. I learned patience by waiting for the first "rain." I learned to work hard when the harvest came. I learned love and kindness from my Grammy, and I learned friendship, happiness, laughter and joy from the celebration night, the gathering, the last night of apple-raining season.

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