Picking Wild Apples: from The Book

Sarah skipped down the street that led to her neighbor David’s house, her face beaming with excitement, her small legs carrying her with a purpose. She clutched a basket in her hand, anticipation gleaming in her eyes. As she reached David’s door, she knocked eagerly, a cheerful smile adorning her face. She couldn’t wait to share her apple-picking adventure with him. Knocking on the door, she eagerly waited for David to open it.

“Hello, David! Can I come in?” Sarah asked, her voice filled with enthusiasm.
David smiled warmly, opening the door wider to let her in.

“Of course, Sarah! Come on in,” David replied, stepping aside to let her in.

Sarah entered David’s cozy living room settling herself in her usual chair, “I brought you some apples.” Sarah’s face beamed as she handed him the small basket.

They weren’t very good apples, small and knotty. but he smiled broadly, “Thank you! These look like they will go wonderfully with a little dash of cinnamon and sugar!” He could see her eyes gleaming with anticipation to tell him all about them. “I see you’re full of spirit today,” He chuckled. The Kettle is on, I will go pour us some tea.”

Sarah bit her lip, her thoughts repeating in her head. She tried waiting patiently but she was so afraid she would forget everything she wanted to share. Before David was able to set the tea on the table, she took a deep breath and began her tale.

“You won’t believe what happened, David! Mumma needed apples, red and gold, to make all sorts of delicious treats for winter,” Sarah started, her voice bubbling with excitement. “Jams, jellies, apple crumble like Quaker’s, apple butter, and apple pie. She said we needed enough to fill the freezer so we can enjoy them whenever we crave something sweet.”

David leaned forward, captivated by Sarah’s words. “Wow, that sounds amazing, Sarah! So, what did you do?”

Sarah grinned and continued, “Mumma told me to find a wild apple tree, one that nobody cared for. She said she spotted one two miles away, apples falling to the ground, going to waste. Mumma said it was a sin to let them pile up when we’re hungry.” Sarah said animatedly, her eyes shining. “There are no apple trees on our little acre, you see.”

Sarah’s eyes sparkled as she described her adventure. “So, I got a big basket, as big as me, and strapped it to my back. Mumma said, ‘Fill it as high as you can carry until the apples spill over the top.’”

David listened intently, nodding in understanding. “So, you went out in search of these wild apples?”

Sarah nodded vigorously. David smiled, picturing Sarah on her quest. “And did you find the wild apple tree?”

Sarah nodded a hint of determination in her eyes. “I found it, David! It took some climbing and shaking the branches, but I gathered every apple I could find. They were wild and sour, not as good for eating, but perfect for baking, freezing, and rhubarb apple pies. I picked until I could barely lift the basket, and then I hurried home, eager to hear Mumma’s praise.”

David’s face lit up with a smile. “That’s wonderful, Sarah! You must have worked hard, I’m sure your Mumma was proud of you.”

Sarah’s smile faltered a little. “Well, not exactly, when I brought the apples home, Mumma said they weren’t good enough. Mumma looked at the apples and said, ‘Aren’t there any better ones? Too many of these are bruised and black. We won’t be able to store them for the winter.’ She told me to find another tree with sweeter apples.”

David’s brow furrowed with concern. “What did you do then?” David’s expression was sympathetic. “Did you find another tree?”

Sarah sighed, her voice tinged with disappointment. “Yes, I did. I went a mile more and found a tree with sweeter apples. I was picking them when a lady from a nearby house shouted at me. She questioned why I was there, if the tree belonged to her or not. I didn’t know, and I apologized, feeling embarrassed about my mistake.”

David reached out and squeezed Sarah’s hand gently. “I’m sorry you had to go through that, Sarah. You were only trying to help your Mumma.” David leaned closer, his eyes filled with curiosity. “What happened next?”

Sarah’s voice lowered as she recounted the encounter. “The lady scolded me for my actions, lecturing me about thievery and manners. She told me to take what I had and leave. I thanked her, even though she didn’t smile.” Sarah’s eyes glistened with unshed tears. “But I didn’t want to disappoint Mumma. I found a few lesser trees, and hurried home, my basket not as full as I had hoped.”

David placed a comforting hand on Sarah’s shoulder. “I’m sorry that happened, Sarah. But I’m sure your efforts were appreciated by your Mumma.”

Sarah’s eyes weren’t able to contain the tears any longer and they began to trickle down her cheek. “Mumma was busy cutting, sorting, peeling, freezing, and baking. She told me to remember for next time, she didn’t seem very happy.”

David squeezed Sarah’s shoulder gently. “Sometimes things don’t go as planned, but the memories we create along the way are still precious. I’m sure your Mumma knows how hard you tried. Your Story is beautiful Sarah, Let me get you a notebook, you should really write it down. It would make a good story to remember years from now.”

Sarah’s smile brightened, and she nodded appreciatively. “Thank you, David. You always understand.”

As they sat together, sharing stories and cherishing their friendship, Sarah realized that even though her apple-picking adventure hadn’t turned out exactly as she had hoped, she would always remember the bittersweet taste of those apple-picking days.

Sarah’s Poem:

Memories of Apple Picking Days

There are no apple trees on our little acre

but Mumma needs apples red and gold.

She’s gonna make, jams, and jellies, and crumble like Quaker’s,

apple butter, and apple pie when winter is cold.

She’ll need apples to fill the freezer

for when we’re craving that sort of thing.

I like apples and I want to please her.

“Go find a wild apple tree,” Mumma says to me,

“One that’s got no claim, or no one to care.

I saw one two miles up – apples falling on the ground.

It’s a sin when you’re hungry to let them pile there

higher than even the wild can eat down.”

So I’ll go and get the basket as big as I am tall,

and strap it to my back. Mumma says “Fill it high

as much as you can carry, till over the top they fall.”

I find what I’m seeking, every apple, not half eaten.

Bruises cook away, no matter how hard they land.

To reach the good fruit I climb as best I can

while beatin’ and shakin’ the limbs with a branch in hand.

The fruit is wild and sour, even the ripest prize,

good for baking, freezing, and rhubarb apple pies.

I’ll pick until I can hardly lift the basket to my back,

and hurry home to hear my Mumma’s praise.

“Aren’t there any better? Too many of these are bruised and black.

With sorting and cutting this won’t last the winter days.

Find another tree to pick apples that are sweet.”

So off I went a mile or more,

and I found what I was looking for

just as it started to pour. Now me, with wet feet,

but I’m a good child.

I can’t disappoint, so I started picking,

sweeter than the others wild.

Then I heard from a house across the field

a shout “What are you doing there?”

An elder lady was questioning my yield.

If the tree was hers, or if she didn’t care, I didn’t think to ask.

My face turned ripe and apologies fell out as she chided me in my task.

After lengthy talk of thievery, manners, and disrespect of youth,

“Take what you have and be on your way!” she said without a smile.

Off I went saying “Thank you, thank you” her back turned all the while.

However, my basket, being not as much as I could carry, not yet piled high,

I found a few lesser trees and hurried home, my back aching.

Hoping my mother would be proud although I wanted to run home and cry.

Mumma was busy cutting, sorting, peeling, freezing, and baking.

I didn’t mean, the elder lady’s apples to be taking,

but there is too much to be done, no time for tears or praise.

Mumma says “Better known for next time, now to sorting and peeling.”

All that’s left are the memories of apple-picking days.

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