Monday, August 10, 2009

A Tree Grows in Berkeley

It’s amazing what a city boy like me can do, just amazing. I spent my early years until ninth grade in West Philadelphia, about a mile west of the University of Pennsylvania, at 47th and Osage. There was a lot of concrete, I have to say. It was great to have a back alley to play ball in, and we did have a small back yard, but I’m not sure anything grew there.

Then we moved to the suburbs and my mother did start to plant things in the yard, flowers and maybe even tomatoes against a white picket fence, I think. Not quite bucolic, but some trees and grass and flowers, especially trees out on the Main Line where we lived. It was just great to drive under the trees in Merion and Gladwyn, and hear birds and everything.

But now I live in California, and even though we are in Berkeley, which is pretty urban, hey, it’s still California, and lots of things grow here! We have a big redwood in our small back yard, I’d say 9 foot circumference, so things get pretty shady, but still, things grow. And I have planted things and arranged things and gotten into bulbs and planted impatiens and lots of things, and it’s just amazing what a city boy can do.

So, I just noticed maybe three years ago that over by the fence, just beside where I had planted some of those little living Christmas trees about ten years ago that actually grew into little Douglas firs, that a little stalk had grown up and was growing some fruit! I looked closely and I realized that some years ago I had eaten a really good plum, and then I had planted the pit there. Amazing, now it was growing fruit!

So I watched it and plucked off a couple of plums and ate them. They were so good! I watched for the flowers to come out the next year, and they did, and then the plums, and then I ate them again!

This year, we got about 15 plums growing! Tasty! I wasn’t sure, I thought they had been the deep purple plums when I ate them originally, but now I realized they were the more yellow colored and reddish plums. Still, very good! Juicy!

But since we were going away for a week and there were about ten plums ready to eat, I thought I’d pick them and take them out for our staff to share at our Bayside managers meeting. So I did.

I just put them on the table when we were eating lunch, and people said what are they? I said, they’re plums from our tree. I planted the pit myself, and the tree just grew.

“Wow,” they said. “You know,” they said, “are you sure these are plums?”

“Sure,” I said, “I picked them myself.”

But somebody said, “Are you sure? Are you sure they aren’t nectarines?”

“Nah,” I said, “they’re plums!”

“Are you sure?” said Alan from down the other end of the table. “Isn’t the skin a little furry for plums?”

“Well,” I said, “I think they’re plums.”

Then a few people tasted them, and everyone said, “These are nectarines!”

So, isn’t it amazing? Here I am, a city boy, and I planted a plum pit, and now I have the only plum tree I know of that grows nectarines!

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