Living Columns & Blogs

A postcard in today’s mail is a reminder of the past

In this Aug. 30, 2015, file photo, McIntosh apples hang on a tree at Carlson Orchards in Harvard, Mass.
In this Aug. 30, 2015, file photo, McIntosh apples hang on a tree at Carlson Orchards in Harvard, Mass. AP Photo

How strange. A simple post card in the mailbox sets off the wave of homesickness.

The card from Levering Orchards in the mountains reminded me that it was cherry picking time. In my mind, I see the ladders stretching into the trees, from whence comes the exchange of conversation among the cherry pickers.

Buckets of the delicious fruit are passed into the waiting hands reaching upward from the ground.

Visiting the cherry and apple orchards has long been a special treat for me. It’s not just the fruit hanging heavily from the branches.

It’s also the clean, crisp air, the sweeping views of the deep, sloping valleys and the smoky-blue towering peaks in the distance.

And, certainly, it’s the people: proud, independent and friendly, though seldom gushy.

When the locals remember or learn that I’m from Raleigh, they like to tease, “What are those politicians down there in Raleigh up to now?” Or the orchard owner may call out to an employee bagging my apples, “Charge that man double. He’s from Raleigh.”

Suggestion: Enter a reminder on your calendar to visit the apple orchards in the Cana, Va. area a few miles above Mt. Airy this autumn.

Political games

I can’t remember a time when political partisanship reached such an acrimonious level. You no doubt heard or read about the five visiting Republicans from Washington, D.C. who were in effect recently booted from an Uber cab in Raleigh after the cabbie wearied of his passengers’ discussion of the president’s recent escapades.

Have we come to the point that when we call a taxi we have to specify whether we want a Democrat cab or a Republican cab? Let’s hope this incident was a one-time aberration. Let’s not let politics rob us of common decency as well as common sense.

Calling Grandma

The phone rang. My wife answered and abruptly hung up the phone.

When I inquired about the call she explained the caller had said, “Good morning, Grandma!”

She’s not ‘Grandma.’ She’s ‘Mimi’ to our grandchildren. The incident reminded me of the scam epidemic of a few years ago when grandparents would get telephone calls from scammers posing as relatives. They would relate a sob story of having lost or been robbed of their wallets, passports, etc. in some foreign country and were in desperate need of money. They would give detailed instructions on how the money was to be sent.

According to news reports, a surprising number of area residents fell for the ruse.


Some of you attach literary or other types of quotations at the end of your emails. One of my favorites is from my niece, Lynn Snow of Wake Forest, quoting British poet Vivian Greene:

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

A Big Smile

Larry Lobster and Sam Clam were best friends and spent many hours and days together before they, coincidentally, died on the same day.

Sam, who was pretty much a rounder, went to hell. Larry the Lobster, who had led a straight and orderly life, went to heaven.

Larry the Lobster was pretty happy in heaven at first. But he sure missed his friend.

One day St. Peter passed by and noticed Larry.

“Larry Lobster,” he said. “You don’t seem very happy lately in heaven? What’s the problem?”

“I miss Sam the Clam so very much, “ he replied, whereupon St. Peter said, “Tell you what. I’ll arrange for you to spend the day tomorrow with your friend.”’

So the next day, Larry took the elevator to hell where he was met by Sam the Clam, and the two spent a wonderful day together.

At day’s end, Larry took the elevator back to heaven and checked in with St. Peter, who looked him up and down and said, “Larry Lobster, aren’t you missing something?”

“No, I think not. I have my halo and my wings.”

“But where is your harp?”

“Oh, dear,” sighed Larry the Lobster. “I left my harp in Sam Clam’s disco!”