R. S. Williams

All I want is to get the words right.

Tag: Food (page 1 of 3)

Wednesday Photo: 7/26/17

“Still Life with Hash Browns”
Waffle House #646
LaGrange, Georgia – 1 July 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 7/19/17

“Whitley, with Yellow Cherry Tomatoes”
Heard County, Georgia – 4 July 2017

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Wednesday Photo: 7/5/17

“Peach Crush”
Kansas City, Missouri – 13 June 2017

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Wednesday Photo: 6/14/17

“Coffee and Check, Saturday Morning”
Waffle House #646
LaGrange, Georgia – 27 May 2017

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Friday Photo: 5/12/17

“There Stands the Glass”
Louisville, Kentucky – 12 June 2015

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My latest, at Columbus and the Valley Magazine

Many thanks to publishers Mike Venable and Jill Tigner for running my short piece “Reverie with Coffee and Hash Browns” in the June 2017 edition of Columbus and the Valley Magazine. (The piece is on page 72.) My fellow contributors have really outdone themselves this month—so I expect you to check out their delightful articles, as well.

Photo: “Waffle House, 12:19pm”

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 4/5/17

“Breakfast and Check”
Waffle House #646
LaGrange, Georgia – 25 March 2017

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Wednesday Photo: 2/22/17

“Table Corner, Sunday Morning”
Waffle House #646
LaGrange, Georgia – 12 February 2017

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Wednesday Photo: 2/15/17

“Pecan Branches with Windshield”
Heard County, Georgia – 7 December 2015

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The Little Peach Tree That Could

In the mid-1930s, my great-grandfather planted this dwarf peach tree in the side yard of his house in southwestern Heard County, Georgia. By the mid-1950s, when my mother was old enough to remember the family’s yearly trips down from Michigan, the tree bore heavy yields every summer.

Pap would slice up quart after quart of fresh peaches, from which he and Grandma Edith would make ice cream in an old crank-handle freezer. It was the finest she had ever tasted, Mom would say years later. When she first moved south in 1968, Mom lived with Pap and Grandma while she saved up for her own apartment in LaGrange. Entering its fourth decade, the little peach tree was still producing as many peaches as the three of them could eat (read: a lot).

In 1988, Mom moved back to Heard County and began fixing up the old home place. By that time, the tree was just about dead. Sap ran sticky amber-brown from the peach borer holes along its trunk. Ice storms had broken off about half its branches. The other half, fiercely proud and unwilling to admit defeat, struggled to stay even halfway upright.

The kind thing to do, Mom supposed, would be to cut it down. No sense in letting it suffer. It had served its purpose for many years. Now it was time to plant something new.

But the saw stayed in the shed.  Mom couldn’t stand to cut down the beleaguered little peach tree while it was still half-alive, or even a quarter alive. “When it’s finally dead, I’ll cut it,” she kept saying. “In the meantime, we’ll just mow around it.”

Which she did—very carefully, with a rickety push-mower and a pair of yard shears. Mom mulched it. She sprayed it for insects and fungus. She watered it during droughts, and pruned away the branches split by the weight of snow and ice. For a dying tree, this one sure was getting a lot of care.

Year after year, the little tree hung on. Every spring, the familiar pink blossoms appeared. By early summer, fuzzy green baby peaches the size of jelly beans dotted the branches. By July 4th, the baby peaches would lie rotting on the ground, felled by some fungus or insect predator. At least the fire ants and yellow jackets were eating well.

For almost 20 years, we had hoped for peaches. For almost 20 years, we had none. I began to accept that peaches, as much as I wanted them, were just not going to happen.

Fast forward to 2003: a warm spring day at the old home place. My mother and stepfather had almost finished rebuilding the long-collapsed front porch. Useless with a hammer but still wanting to be part of the action, I stood nearby.

“Uh, Mom?” I said. “It’s about your little tree.”

“I know, I know.” She mopped the sweat from her brow and grabbed another fistful of 16-penny nails. “I’m giving it one more chance. If it doesn’t make fruit this year, it’s coming down.”

So the spring turned into summer, and the blossoms turned into fuzzy green baby peaches. But this time, the baby peaches stayed on the tree. And grew. And grew. And ripened.

For the first time in nearly 40 years, we had peaches.

I felt badly for having hoped we could cut down the elderly peach tree. I had doubted it, yet it had come back—perhaps to prove us wrong, but more likely because that’s just what trees do. This lonely, gnarled little tree suddenly bore two bushels of peaches just because.

That summer, we had the best homemade peach ice cream and the best homemade peach cobbler I have ever tasted. Since then, the tree has managed to produce at least a few desserts’ worth of fruit every season. It has survived nearly a century of drought, disease, ice storms, and straight-line winds—and, one time, a sweet, hungry, clumsy 2,800-pound Black Angus bull. This beloved little tree refuses to quit.

What will this year bring? We don’t yet know. The peach tree probably doesn’t yet know, either. No matter what happens, though, I will always be grateful to it for showing me what endurance really means.

Photo: “Green Peach, Black Cat” (Heard County, Georgia – 27 May 2014)

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Note: An earlier version of this piece appeared at my former blog, Forgotten Plants & Places, on 12 April 2012.

 

Wednesday Photo: 1/4/17

“Winter Carrots”
Heard County, Georgia – 30 December 2016

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Friday Photo: 12/23/16

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“A Lesser-Known Christmas Vigil”
Waffle House #646
LaGrange, Georgia – 13 December 2014

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Morning Sun with Bourbon and Glass

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“Morning Sun with Bourbon and Glass”

LaGrange, Georgia – 1 November 2016

#FridayPhoto

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Fresh Alabama

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Wedowee, Alabama – 19 September 2014

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Hillside Monday: 8/22/16

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“BYOB RC”
Pure Life Studio
LaGrange, Georgia – 29 May 2015

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Hillside Monday: 8/8/16

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“Blackberry Chair”
LaGrange, Georgia – 13 May 2014

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Wednesday Photo: 8/3/16

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“Ripening Peach, Early Summer”
Heard County, Georgia – 9 June 2016

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Another Quiet Moment in Nashville

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Waffle House #511
Nashville, Tennessee – 17 September 2015

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Wednesday Photo: 6/29/16

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“Light Fixture Rising Sun”
Waffle House #646
LaGrange, Georgia – 3 December 2015

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Soybean Field, Autumn

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Heard County, Georgia – 25 September 2014

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