Texture Day 4

2 Nov

Many years ago—I think I was still in high school—a man in our rural neighborhood plowed under his wife’s strawberry patch as punishment for something they had argued about. She was known for the amazing strawberries she harvested every summer, which might have been the problem—they were deeply religious and he often cited her pride for those berries and other accomplishments (she was an incredible seamstress and a wonderful cook) as regrettable sin she should repent. As even I know, despite two thumbs that will never shade green, it takes many years of devotion to get really sweet, fat berries, so when he destroyed her patch he was destroying years of work and love. I cried when I heard the story, because it struck me as such a cruel, hateful thing to do. The wife, also known for her unbreakable good cheer, replanted and carried on. Back to the present: The texture of the day was a small, soft, squishy puffball. It reminded me of cat fur and so inspired the first sentence of my story.

Working Title: Seven Seasons
1st Sentence: When they came for her she was huddled in the open back door, her old orange tom curled in her lap, purring like a lawnmower.
Favorite Sentence: Ammi dragged a plow through Hester’s strawberry patch—chopping the plants like slaw, turning under the ruined roots and crushed berries, obliterating seven seasons of kneeling in the dirt, seven seasons of sun-spiked sugar, of fatter and fatter fruit.
Word Length: 829

Photo by Brian Prechtel, PD-USGOV-USDA, 5/2003.

2 Responses to “Texture Day 4”

  1. Patricia Weidler November 4, 2012 at 12:37 PM #

    What a powerful memory! That she stayed with him and replanted points out a complexity to their relationship. I wonder if and how he changed over the years. It is so much easier for me to think and wonder about her emotions and thinking.

    • Claire Guyton November 4, 2012 at 10:50 PM #

      By then they were, oh, in their late 50s, early 60s, and had raised 5 kids. They were then and still are very interesting, complicated, admirable people. He is certainly not known for cruelty. I think–I hope–he actually shocked himself by what he did. I have always wondered if he ever apologized. I think not. But my guess is that he tried to make up for it with good behavior once he’d recovered from his tantrum.

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