The Last Peach

Well, folks, it’s been a bumper year for the peach harvest here at Haven Hill Home for Horses and Henchfolk. Clusters of peaches so thick they were touching each other bent branches to the ground and even broke and split a few of them. Definitely the most we’ve had on this tree in its seven years.

I’ll thin the blooms out considerably if we ever have this many again. They’ve been tiny but tasty and there’s been a bazillion of ‘em. For the past three weeks, we’ve had peaches for breakfast, peaches with ice cream, two cobblers and one double crust pie. We’ve eaten peaches right off the tree and made a few pints of what was supposed to be peach jam but will more likely become pie filling or ice cream topping.

We’ve had so many peaches this year, off of one small tree, that we’ve flat out spoiled the horses. For a couple of weeks, nearly every time we went to the round pen, we treated Gin and Earl to fresh peaches. They got right fond of the little treats in a pretty short while. I believe that they are suspicious that we’re hiding peaches from them now, but the honest fact of the matter is the peaches are all gone. I pulled the last one off the tree Monday morning.

I didn’t wake up thinking, “I bet there’s only one peach left on that tree.”

In fact, I went to bed Sunday night knowing that there were still twelve-to-fifteen peaches left on the tree. And so, silly me, I was expecting there to still be a dozen or more on the tree Monday morning. You know, enough for another breakfast and a few left to snack on during the day. Didn’t work out that way, though, and I’ve got a pretty good idea how they disappeared.

I’d seen one or more of our sneaky little squirrels high-tailing it away from the tree when Randa or I would walk out toward the barn. Found peaches on the ground and some on the tree with a few missing bites and the shape of some large incisors left in the fruit. I’d also found three or four peaches with what sure looked like coon or possum dental impressions. And there was indication from the other end of the critter that one or more had been under the peach tree.

Having had so many peaches this year, I’d been less concerned about the varmints poaching our crop. “So what,” I figured, “if they get one or two peaches? We’ll still have plenty.” It never occurred to me that they’d wipe out a dozen or more in single night. Having to search through the leaves and limbs for several minutes in order to find that last peach changed that.

Sometimes, I reckon, we might think we have so much that we fail to realize how much we have lost. There are times in life to be generous and sharing with both time and talents, money and moments. There are times to be a bit selfish, too.

Times to protect zealously and jealously the time we have to be alone and recharge the batteries. Time that we spend with friends and family, to guard the whens and hows we spend our time and whether or not to give up those things that are not in unlimited supply. To be aware of opportunity cost and to be sure that we are not trading gold for straw.

There is no limit to the varmints and critters in this world that will gobble up whatever we do not protect. Sin and Satan will take everything that they can and leave us with life’s tree stripped and broken if we do not guard our hearts, our minds, and our spirits. There are plenty of wild mulberries around the woods to keep the wild things from starving. While we recognize that God may use us to feed the birds of the air, we need to be careful what varmints we allow to scrounge through the gardens that we tend.

Otherwise, we might end up a few peaches short of the abundant life that we were intended to have. The God who sends his rain upon the just and the unjust expects us to be good stewards of the blessings that he sends.

H. Arnett


About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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