A Case of Missing Oranges
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.