An apple a day — in about five years

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It was shortly after Kevin and I first started dating that it became apparent he’d be a regular visitor to my apartment – the kind of visitor who needed a toothbrush, a razor, maybe a change of clothes. One sunny Saturday afternoon, we wandered up Broadway to find what he needed.

There was a large drugstore, one of a now-defunct chain, just a few blocks up, and that’s where we headed. We got the toothbrush, the razor, and a few other necessities.

One of those necessities was, of all things, a hair styling gel. To see my rough-hewn husband now, you’d never believe that Kevin ever used anything beyond the bare minimum in hair-care products. Back in the day, though, when he had to show up on the exchange floor every day, split ends were an issue.

He used something called Sebastian Potion 9, and it wasn’t cheap. It came in two sizes: a tube that held about three ounces, and a tub that held at least sixteen. Now, Potion 9 is the kind of stuff you use sparingly, a dab at a time. A sixteen-ounce tub would certainly last six months, maybe longer. We’d barely been dating that many days. I remember thinking the tube would be the way to go.

Kevin, though, held up the tub, which had a price tag in the vicinity of twenty-five dollars. “I think we should get the commitment size,” he said.

I didn’t know it at the time, but that’s what he’s like. He simply decides what he wants, and forges ahead. In that case, in my most incredible stroke of good fortune ever, what he wanted was me. Now, he wants apple trees.

Our fig tree in its snowsuit

Our fig tree in its snowsuit

We’ve talked about fruit trees many times, and we even planted a brown turkey fig last year. I have to confess, though, that I don’t think of fruit trees the same way I think about vegetables or mushrooms, chickens or bees. Vegetables, mushrooms, chickens, and bees are relatively short-term projects. The payoff is, at most, about a year away. Everything you do can be undone.

A tree, though, is forever. Maybe not end-of-time forever, but forever in the sense that it will last longer than we will, which is all the forever I’m willing to contemplate. I’m perfectly comfortable planting tomatoes because I’m pretty sure I’m going to be living here, doing this, in six months. Apple trees, though, are commitment-size.

“Do you balk at all at the thought of embarking on something as long-term as planting fruit trees?” I asked Kevin today.

I should have known what he’d say. You probably know what he said, and you’re not even married to him.

“No,” was what he said.

Each of us still has one foot in New York. Because this is by necessity – we both have business there – I’m spared the trouble of asking whether I’m also still tied to Manhattan by inclination. As happy as our lifestyle makes me, I can’t say with certainty that it’ll make me happy until hell freezes over, or our apple trees mature, whichever comes first.

Right now, though, I absolutely want to be living here, doing this. And if I start hedging because I’m afraid that, some time in the hazy distant future, I may want to live somewhere else and do something else, who knows what I’m going to miss out on?

So I’m happy to say that we’re going ahead with the apple trees. After all, the Potion 9 worked out pretty well.

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Comments

  1. Ah, I understand the dilemma…We kept thinking we were only going to live here a couple of years, and now, it’s 9 years later. We finally planted apple trees last spring….maybe we’ll see an apple before we do move, but maybe they will be for the next owners. I still kick myself for not planting them right away though. Sigh.

  2. beachnitpicker says:

    “He who plants a tree plants a hope,” according to an obscure 19th century poet, Lucy Larcom, who would probably be amazed to know that 150 or so years later her words would produce 12,400 hits on Google.

  3. I’m hoping my apple trees (and my cherry, Italian plum, and hazel trees) show up today. The nursery said they’d ship in January and we’re quickly running out of January, and I have two dry days predicted. The plan is to stay here until we need to move to the old folks home, but you never know. I’m still planting trees, though.

  4. further showing that either:

    -i am far more like your husband than you or
    -kevin is a girly man

    i, too, obsessively use potion #9. its my goto curl tamer.

    i’m sorry, did you say something about trees?

  5. Alison — It was part of my rationale that, if we were going to do it, we ought to do it right away. But there’s no crying over unplanted apples.

    BNP — Now it’ll be 12,401! There is a certain optimism in planting trees.

    Paula — Good luck with this year’s crop, and may the old folks’ home be far, far in your future.

    Amanda — Potion 9 lives! And you don’t have to be a girly man to know the value of a tamed curl.

  6. Girl, you can turn a story like nobody’s business. How you went from Potion 9 and apple trees is something only a master story teller can do.

    And, not for nothing, you’ve got some killer dialogue, too. “Commitment sized” is brilliant.

  7. I need some apple trees, too. I have heard Fedco holds a sale at some point. Maybe we should drive up to Maine together?

  8. Brooke — Next time I’m having a low self-esteem day, I am so calling you. But I can’t take credit for “commitment-sized.” It’s Kevin’s.

    Alexandra — I didn’t realize Fedco had a sale! I’ll definitely be on the look-out.

  9. They say the best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago; the second-best time is today.

    I don’t get why people see fruit trees as a big commitment. They’re not that expensive, and you don’t have to chop them down when you move. It’s more likely than not that the next owners will appreciate an established tree, and it may even encourage them to do more food gardening.

  10. Darren — There are good sayings where you come from. And you’re right that *somebody* will enjoy our trees, even if it’s not us.

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