Saturday, September 6, 2008

Red apples to pick

by John D Ramsey

It began with a tease, as many things do in this house. I passed Claire in the hallway on my way to the garage. “I want a ten-page report ready before I get home,” I snapped.

Claire looked bewildered and asked, “On what?”

“Your day,” I answered. As I was getting into the Explorer to drive to work, I relented, “You must have exactly one word on each page.”

Claire smiled.

Lisa had joined us by then and suggested that Claire write a haiku. I was thinking haiku already, but I did not dare require it. Since Lisa thought of it, too, I suggested that if Claire completed her haiku using exactly ten words, I would bring her a special prize. Claire accepted the challenge.

At work, while I was rebooting my laptop because of critical updates, I started thinking about haiku. Was it fair of me to ask Claire to write a ten word, seventeen-syllable poem on a whim? Did my requirement impose upon Lisa’s lesson plan for the day? Plans for the weekend flashed through my mind, and while I was still rebooting I text-messaged Lisa,

Morning promises
little girls, sunshine, breezes,
red apples to pick.

I figured that if I could do it during a reboot, it was not too much to ask of Claire. Later I realized that technically I had failed my own assignment because I was writing about tomorrow and I had asked Claire to write about today. On the other hand, one day is as good as another.

I am looking forward to divesting the apple trees of their fruit before the squirrels do. Lisa coaxed some apple boxes from the grocery store complete with packing material. The nicest apples we will box and put in a cool spot in the basement. The rest of them might become applesauce or apple butter – anything other than squirrel food.

On my way home from work, I was talking to Lisa on the phone. She asked me if I had gotten an email from Claire. I had not checked before leaving work, so she read Claire’s haiku to me.

Book report was good
Math and reading every day

That was good enough for me. Claire's reward in only eight words:

Yesterday's Sunshine®,
a bittersweet memory,
crisp Hydrox® cookies.

We will eat apples tomorrow.

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