A Case of Miss­ing Or­anges

Galston, Glenorie and Hills Rural News - - Heartbeats -

We had been watch­ing the trees at the bot­tom of the gar­den as they were full of al­most ripe fruit.

This year they were smaller than ever be­fore and we put it down to the drought, which seemed harsher and longer than we could ever re­mem­ber.

Any­how, they were al­most ready and at last one day my hus­band said he would take some buck­ets down and visit the tiny orchard and then our neigh­bours.

He had got­ten into the habit of go­ing for a rare visit to those next door and those who were at the top of our long bat­tle-axe drive­way, to give them a small gift of the golden juicy fruit and of course to en­joy a friendly chat.

After­wards he would bring them home for us to share and to hope it would be one of those rare oc­ca­sions when I ac­tu­ally made some mar­malade..fill­ing a num­ber of odd sized glass jars with the sticky, bub­bling or­ange jam. Then he would give some away at the club and pre­tend we were real farm­ers with boun­ti­ful crops to share.

The lit­tle orchard was at the bot­tom or top of our gar­den, de­pend­ing on which way you looked at it….down the creek or up the drive. Be­fore long, in fact much sooner than I had ex­pected him, I heard the heavy tread of his old work boots on the gravel and then up the verandah steps.

“Oh, you didn’t pick any” was the sur­prised greet­ing he re­ceived.

“There weren’t any to pick” was the dispir­ited an­swer.

“Pos­sums or those wal­la­bies that have been hang­ing around... maybe birds?”

“No…they would have left a few hang­ing as well as scraps on the ground.”

There was only one species who would have have crept in and stolen ev­ery sin­gle or­ange from the trees. Far more than a fam­ily could eat.

Would they choke with ev­ery bite of the juicy fruit? I hope at least that they were in des­per­ate need of them.

It left a hor­rid taste in our mouths.

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