It was another perfect day on the farm. My husband Jim, and my children, Andy and Janie, were gone for the day, and I was planning to wallpaper one of the back bedrooms in our 100 year old house.
But just then, I remembered that Lorne, our carpenter, was coming by to finish some plastering downstairs. And Oh, yes, someone called about picking some apples, from the two overladen trees in our front orchard. Hopefully, they would bring their own containers—I didn’t want to be disturbed, no matter what.
“Don’t let them apples go to waste Diane,” Lorne said as he unloaded his sawhorse and tools, “I’ll help you pick’em later, if you want.”
“Oh, no that won’t be necessary, Lorne,” I said, “The Borensons’ called last night, looking for apples, and I said they could come and pick some.”
The best darn apples in all of Comox
“Make sure they leave some for you. And me too, if you’re giving ’em away. Betty loves ’em, they’re the best King apples in all of Comox.”
“Oh, they said they just want a few. For apple pie and some apple butter. And they know I want some too. I’m sure they’ll be considerate.”
I had worked hard in the house for the past year, and was proud of the progress I’d made. Today I planned to finish wallpapering one of the four upstairs bedrooms—wallpapering was tricky, and I wanted no interruptions—Lorne knew that, and I was sure he would stay out of my way.
Lorne and I went to work, I could hear him whistling downstairs. He was so good at plastering. When he finished every day, he always said, “Got to be careful. The Master Inspector might be around tomorrow.”
He meant the sun, since every flaw showed up in the sunshine. Lorne was one of a kind, and had a wonderful reputation in the Comox Valley. I felt so lucky he was working for us.
I opened the window and looked out as I heard the Borensons’ old rattletrap truck in the yard.
“Sorry, I can’t come down and visit,” I called out, “I’m in the middle of wallpapering…just can’t leave it or the paste will dry.”
“Don’t worry about it, we’ll talk some other day.” Mrs. Borenson called back. “You’re so nice. Thank you for letting us pick!”
Soon, all I heard was their chatting as they climbed the ladders, and Lorne’s whistling as he worked. At noon, the chatter stopped, and all was quiet in the yard.
“Done so soon?” I wondered. “Or maybe they’ve just gone somewhere for lunch.”
When I heard them come back, I fully intended to dash downstairs to say hello. But before I could finish pasting and smoothing the ream of wallpaper in my arms, I heard them start up the old rattletrap and drive away.
Well, good riddance, I said to myself
“Hmmm, not even a thank you,” I muttered and went back to work.
It was two hours before I could get down from my ladder, and call it a day. My shoulders and arms hurt from the effort of holding up the wet paper. I stood back, and surveyed my work. It looked beautiful!
Stretching my back, and neck, I went downstairs to check up on the orchard, and say hello to Lorne.
I looked at the trees. No apples. Maybe they left the ones further in. I looked again, climbing as high as I could and peering through the branches. No apples. Looking closer, I could see one or two, so high I couldn’t reach them.
“Oh, no!” I wailed, “How could they do this!”
“All the apples gone? ” I heard Lorne’s voice from way down at the bottom of the tree. “I’m not surprised. Everyone knows about them Borensons.”
Lorne looked at me thoughtfully, then he disappeared around the back of the shed. Oh, good, I thought, he’s going to put his tools down and help me pick the few apples that remained.
But when he came back, moments later, he was wheeling the wheelbarrow full of the ripest, roundest apples of the crop. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I gasped, “When did you pick these? What did they say to you?”
“They didn’t know,” he answered. “Even a thief’s got to go for lunch.”
By the time Andy and Janie came home, I was sorting and cutting apples, and my canner was bubbling on the back of the stove, full of apple butter. Lorne was back to whistling and working, and probably thinking about the apple pies that Betty would make.