CLIMBING TREES

In the back yard of our house

On Sutter Street in North Fairmount

There was one little cherry tree,

Which, despite its diminutive size,

Produced a fair amount of

Sour cherries once a year

From which

My mother baked a cherry pie,

But without removing the seeds.

You had to spit the pits out

On your plate.

(We never figured out why mom

didn’t remove the seeds from the cherries.

I am guessing it was too much work).

Of more importance to me

As a child

Was climbing that tree

Where I somehow managed to

Wedge a board into a Y of the tree

From which I could sit

And read my book

And eat peanut butter crackers.

At my grandmother’s house

On Baltimore Street

There were many trees, mostly apple,

I think

And we were free to climb the trees;

When there were apples to harvest

Grandma would send a grandson

Up the tree to shake the limbs

And we would gather the apples

Which were made into applesauce,

A family event that my mother and

Two aunts participated in.

Excess apples would be put into a red wagon

And one of the grandchildren would take them

To the nuns’ house behind St Leo’s School.

Maybe they made applesauce too.

Across the street from us

The Back Family had a pear tree

But I don’t remember any of us ever climbing

That tree. It may have been too big without

Branches to provide some leverage.

We did sometimes pick the pears to eat.

We were tree climbing children,

All of us

But I think I forsook climbing trees

Once I became ten or eleven years old.

I was too old to be climbing trees anymore.

 

Sandra Lee Smith

Posted 2010/updated May 13, 2018

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