Urban Apple Pickin'

Posted by jdg | Friday, August 22, 2008 | , ,

You've got a daughter who loves apples. You should be coming up on the greatest time of the year: u-pick season. But with gas prices being what they are and none of the orchards yet advertising ripe honeycrisps---the black-tar heroin of the pomaceous fruit world---you're pretty much left with last year's Fujis from the Apple Pirate at the farmer's market who rapes and pillages your wallet at 50 cents per apple each weekend. Unless, of course, you're a stay-at-home dad with nothing better to do than go for a lot of walks and notice quite a few rotting apples in certain spots around the neighborhood. And you look up.

A tree filled with golden delicious. A few paces over, a tree bursting with small, ripe pears. Just over the fence of that apartment building are two McIntosh trees, both with unripened fruit.

You walk around the neighborhood all morning. When you find another one, you tie the dog up, leave the kids on the ground and disappear for a moment into a tree, coming down with pockets full of Gravensteins, hands as full as they can be without risking a fall. You shake a limb and one newtons you on the head. She laughs. You walk from secret tree to secret tree, and she tells you when she grows up she is going to be an artist and a farmer.

You tell her that would make you very proud.

You're both picking low-hanging golden delicious when you hear the voice of a middle-aged black man: "Goddamn motherfucking cocksucking motherfuckers!" he grumbles. You assume an eagle-claw kung fu stance to protect your merry band of apple thieves. "Shithead dirtbag saladtossing cockweed motherfuckers. . ." he continues. He's standing next to a red Mercury, its passanger-side window smashed. There's glass all over the sidewalk. Just another hard lesson about Detroit: don't leave a quarter visible in your cupholder, or a crackhead will smash a window for it.

Even with apples worth twice as much growing ripe in the trees above them.