I’d like to say there are childhood memories of crunching into the apples from that old tree, but they were never very plentiful, nor very good, and what the birds didn’t get, the squirrels most often did. The few that did fall into reach of my young hands were always “maybe covered” in dog poop from the gaggle of poodles that ran around, and deemed by my young mind inedible, left to wrinkle for the worms. The branches were too high up for the scardycat that I was as a child to climb, though I was enough of a klutz for it to seem like self-preservation if I spun it right in the telling.
The one thing it did, however, was shade most of the backyard.
A small playhouse nestled between the tree and the concord grapevine covered wire fence, with wooden letters carved and arranged around the window frames with the names of my generation. It was made of painted plywood my grandfather had built when I was three, and the apple of his eye.
A wooden bench swing perched nearby. I spent summer nights cuddled with one grandparent or the other on it, swaying in the slightest breeze.
The shed that was meant for storing gardening tools was shoved in the corner, frequently turned into my summer schoolroom, with me lecturing my dolls to pay attention. I tried to explain, in my strange, often circular way, my pet subject of the week to my dolls. Dolls, because my younger cousins made horrible students, being 4 years+ younger than me, and no where near the bookworm I was.
Popsicles, made from frozen milk, chocolate if I was lucky that day, dripping into plastic holders. You had to eat them under the tree, of course, because if you went in the sun, you might as well be drinking a cup of milk as fast as it melted. Back when I thought 90* was hot.
The old apple tree is still there, grown even larger over the decades. Every winter, my grandmother threatens to chop it down, pursing her lips just so. Every spring, she laughs at the blossoms falling into her snowy hair. I think the tree knows, she won’t do it. It holds too much in those branches, even still.
Just a little drabble, mostly autobiographical, of a place and a time I haven’t seen in a long while.