Have you ever had a plum tree on steroids? Let me rephrase that. Have you ever had a plum tree not on steroids?
There is something diabolical about plum trees. They look almost dainty through the winter (right as you innocently purchase your home), but by summer they turn into Gatling Guns, hurling plums at you as fast as is humanly, okay, botanically possible. Like those apple trees throwing apples at Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, these trees mean business and will not stop until your entire lawn and walkway are covered with sticky purple flesh.
You’ll hear the first of them falling at about 3 a.m. one night, hitting your roof like meteorites.
You won’t know what it is, but you will look outside to see if it’s hailing golf balls. They will bounce into your rain gutters and splatter onto your patio. You will send your husband outside to investigate and he will hit his shin on a chaise lounge (when you’ve done this enough times yourself, you get to know the sound), then he will stomp back in to report that it’s fruit.
You will say, “Fruit?” and he will get in bed and refuse to discuss the matter further. You, on the other hand, will picture trouble-making kids out in the street, lobbing oranges and the like onto your house, as a prank. You will wonder why nothing was done to send these scoundrels on their way, and you will stare at the back of your husband’s head in the moonlight and wonder why he isn’t taking this seriously. He’d better not be having visions of sugar plums.
In the morning you will survey the damage and realize you’ve been strafed by Mother Nature who thinks purple houses are amusing. Crows, Blue Jays, squirrels and countless insects will be gorging on the feast before them. It occurs to you that a person could be knocked cold and suffocated if they happened to be a sleep walker.
And now you realize you inadvertently sent your husband out to the front lines of battle, and you consider getting him a hard hat for next time. You look up into the branches and can see the tree is bringing in reinforcements; this fight is long from over. You make a note to turn up the sound machine so you can sleep through the rest of the bombings.
Carefully, you gather up the fruit you can and realize you have enough to supply the entire neighborhood with plums. You make plum jam, plum cobbler, plum pie. You even make plum pudding, though it won’t be Christmas for six more months.
You roll your eyes when you see them in the produce department, stacked next to the apricots, trying to look harmless. Cherries, of which life is just a bowl of, are stacked nearby. You think about phrases like, “just peachy,” and “apple of my eye,” and realize that the only one that comes to mind right now is “plum exhausted.”
Don’t be awakened in the night with nothing to read—buy one of my books (top left-hand corner of this blog)—SISTERS IN THE MIX is hilarious, JUNGLE is spine-tingling, and PINHOLES INTO HEAVEN is “a literary delight.” My words, but with quotation marks around them.