Saturday, March 03, 2007

Plum Trees

One day, while plums were in season, and the middle schools were having a teacher’s conference, we had the day off, Richard, Tyron, and me. We also did not have anything constructive to do, so we set out on a quest to find unguarded plum trees. We searched up and down alleys and through crowded fields until we finally came to a young boy sitting in a backyard. A chain link fence surrounded the yard, and three full plum trees surrounded the young boy, butterflies, and cool shade.

We asked the boy if we could have some of his plums and began climbing the fence before he finished saying, yes. I chose the tree furthest from the alley, closest to the house, and began stuffing the large pockets of my baggy shorts. Richard and Tyron chose the other two trees.

Not long after we began picking, did a large figure suddenly appear at the corner of my eye. It was moving towards me so fast, that I dared not pause to confirm what it was.

With full pockets, I darted towards the alley, past Richard and Tyron, and with the large figure strongly barreling after me. Momentum, adrenalin, and the classes I had had in gymnastic vaulted me over the fence without breaking my stride, and I felt a breeze at the back of my legs. Something had missed me.

Safely on the other side of the fence, I turned to see what had been chasing me. It was an elderly woman, the boy’s grandmother, wildly wielding a rigid switch, and furious that I had gotten away. She was a large black woman, amazingly quick for her size, and her gray hair was flying in all directions.

She then spun around and went after Tyron. Richard was huddled underneath a tree, watching as Tyron tried to run pass the woman. She was hitting at him the entire time, swatting and missing his back and legs. Tyron did not vault over the fence as I had done. Instead, he placed his back against the fence, faced the woman and tried to take the switch from her hand. That made her even madder, as she spoke for the first time.

“Oh! You gonna fight back, huh?” she growled and started swinging harder.

“He said we could have some,” Tyron yelled, referring to the young boy, as he continued grabbing at the woman’s stick. She landed another eight, or so slashes before Tyron finally spun around and jumped over the fence. From the alley, he and I then called for Richard to run.

Richard was still huddled underneath a tree, looking like a frightened rabbit as the woman howled, “Come out of there you little crook!” She repeatedly swung at him, hitting limbs, and knocking down leaves and plums, until Richard finally darted out. Tyron and I cheered him on as he and the woman ran around the yard like a skit from the Benny Hill show. He then dashed for the fence – but not fast enough, for before he could jump from atop the fence into the alley, the woman landed a slashing blow across his back.

“Y’all stay out of my yard!” she yelled, as Richard fell into the alley, nervously laughing. We all laughed, except for the woman and the young boy. We jogged away; and from the corner of the street, we looked back and saw the woman still chasing the young boy around the yard.


Carol said...

What a sweet sweet story! Nice to see you writing again.

House of Virtue said...

Hey, we are happy to meet you, we love your stories & we'd love 2 be friends with you if you don't mind. God bless you!