In the interest of getting to know who I am, I’m sharing stories from my life. I call them Preliminary Files and I hope you enjoy them.

At four o’clock in the morning Dad woke me up.

“Come on Son, we’re going to go pick cherries today.” Even in my groggy state I couldn’t help notice it was pitch-black dark outside. I remember thinking, “Who picks cherries in the dark?”

Just enough glow in the eastern sky surrounded the orchard so that leaves and fruit and branches all silhouetted themselves, a jolting black against the coming sunrise. The breeze was uncomfortably cold.

Three rows over, mourning doves sang their lilting dirges as my dad placed a very tall wooden ladder with three legs under the ultimate picking spot.

He gave me a bucket the size of a paint can and said, “I want you to pick cherries up off the ground, but you gotta make sure they’re good ones. See, this is a bad one.” And he picked a rotten cherry off the ground to show me the brown spots. I caught on and went about my merry way finding only the most plump, ripe, unblemished cherries on the orchard floor.

The sun was up now, but the doves kept singing and the cherries kept coming.

Suddenly everything went very black and my head hurt bad. The orchard came back into view, but only in blurry patches. I noticed that Dad was carrying me very fast and we got in the car and I sat on his lap and he held me tight. My mom drove and when my dad pulled a white T-shirt off the top of my head and I saw deep red splotches across the material, I figured out what was going on.

I looked at my dad’s face and tears were clearly coming out if his eyes so I asked, “Why are you crying Daddy?” He said, “I’m not crying Son.” And I laid there wondering why he felt he needed to lie about such a trivial matter as crying.

I got 27 stitches in my head and if you feel that spot today you can feel where the skull caved in just a little.

Back at the orchard, I saw the bucket of cherries that fell on me. It was about 20″ in diameter an probably weighed about forty pounds. You could see a pale-green plastic coated wire that had changed from a V-shape to a loose L-shape and I understood why the bucket fell from above me.

(My Lesson: Stay out from under ladders in cherry orchards. And; sometimes men don’t admit they cry… I still don’t get that.)


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