Friday, January 30, 2009

Let me tell you, nigh on to sixty-four years of marriage and six children can engender a rattling number of pictures, photos, snaps - and this is not counting the years we used a movie camera!

Nigh on to sixty four years of marriage and six children, (plus the cows and the sheep and the orchard and the work outside the farm and husband's fatal attraction to Directorships) - well, it doesn't leave much time to sit down and organize the pictures.

They get left out to look at, and then finally are put away (neatly) in boxes. However, by the time they have been riffled through by various children, or parents, the lack of organized filing is sadly apparent.

I think that probably in the last ten years I have been nudged by the urgency of 'getting things in order' at least a dozen times. I make a start on the job, full of enthusiasm. But you know how it is looking through pictures, - you linger here, over a long forgotten picture, and your mind wanders back as you reminisce about the time and place and the people and the circumstances.

Soon it is time to get supper, or go to town, or someone visits, and everything gets shoved back into the box until another day.

Now that age and mobility preclude us from cross country skiing or any of the other winter pleasures we used to indulge in, there is more time to poke through the pictures boxes and reminisce.

And that is what Charles and I did for a good part of the day.....

To get to the nub of the matter, - last July, when I wrote about cherry pies, and the picking of cherries, I looked for a picture of my father-in-law, taken when he was cutting down one of the large Lambert cherry trees in his orchard.

Today I found the picture.....

At the time of this adventure at the top of the cherry tree my father-in-law was past his mid sixties! Charles says his mother probably took the picture, all the while muttering imprecations. And small prayers, I would think....

The 20 foot ladder set half way up the tree is the base from which his father started his climb, sawing off branches as he went. A brave and careful man, - he lived to 102.

Cherry trees then were much larger and more robust that the convenient espaliered rows you find today. And as a consequence orchardists, if they were not larger and more robust, had at least to be sure of foot, nimble and finely balanced!

He who was chosen to pick the top of the tree had to have an accomplice. They went out early in the morning, equipped with pails and ropes, and the cherry picker passed his full buckets down to the ground where it was emptied and sent back up to be refilled. All morning, until noon, his deft fingers gathered the fruit, running the round, sweet cherries along his hand and into the bucket.

As I remember the children always came in with wine stained lips at cherry picking time, and although I didn't eat many cherries while picking them I was a devil when it came to tree ripened apricots!!

O what would the fellows who come around with booms and trucks to tidy up trees say about this daring entrepreneurship.

(When questioned as to what his father was carrying, up there in the blue, Charles replied, ' probably a parachute'.....)

We will be back to the pictures and the memories again tomorrow,,unless the sun shines and distracts us!


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Thanks so much for dropping by and for your kind comment. I have just spent some time perusing your delightful blog and I am tickled to have found you. I know I shall return, and you two are welcome over at our place anytime!

The photo of your father-in-law reminded me of my husband's uncle. Uncle Rob still patched his own roof at 96, much to the family's disapproval!

Pam said...

Hello Hildred! Just visiting via The House of Edward.I too have had an enjoyable time browsing through your blog, and only this morning, I was going through all my old photos also.There was one very similar to the one with your father-in-law, but it was my father pruning back a big Bushy Yate Eucalyptus tree. I originally intended to spend two minutes shifting the box to another part of the house...and over an hour later - well, you know how it goes.It was a good way to see out an ongoing heat wave. Took my mind off it...that and today,looking via the internet,at the history of English villages and the residents family histories. I get quite intrigued!Thank you for such interesting posts.

Hildred said...

Ah yes, these elderly chappies do keep active. I think it has something to do with their ego's.

My husband is somewhat immobilized with post polio syndrome, but that doesn't stop him from cherishing his tractor and using it as a means of declaring his independence....

Thank you both for coming by. Pam, are you in Aussie land?