The other day a friend called and asked if I wanted to go pick apricots on her in-laws' farm. I told her no, I don't really care for apricots. Fresh fruit just doesn't really appeal to me. Nor the act of harvesting it myself on a radiant morning, off of beautiful trees, on a real-life farm, right here in my small town. Nope. Count me out. That is just not my cup of tea. Satisfied that I had delivered sufficient sarcasm, I then cried "Would I?! WOULD I!"
I can't photographically prove it (I forgot my camera--the searing regret is painful!), but it was a morning to treasure. The apricots were tender, abundant, and blushing on the sun- kissed side. Bug's little feet navigated across the rocky mini-orchard, her shoes caked with sticky clay soil, her blond head shining and bobbing with delight. We all picked 'cots and enjoyed idle chat. Then my friend's gracious mother-in-law took us for a tour of the chicken coop and the sheep and cow enclosures. Buggy's face lit up at the sound of the crowing rooster and 4 eggs found in a hen's nesting box (which we were generously given to take home and fry up for lunch. Tasty!)
But today's story isn't really about picking apricots (nor is it about slack-jawed gawkers. I mean, they show up later on, but they really don't have a main part in the story. I just liked the way it sounded. Slack-jawed gawkers.) (I'd like to take a second to tell you that my spellchecker wants me to change "gawkers" to "gawkies". Um. Really?) So anyway, the point of all this is to tell you one thing:
While apricot picking, I wore my running shoes.
They, too, got caked with the muck. So when we got home, I slapped them together a few times, gave them what-for with a pounding on the concrete patio, then gave up and left them to sit outside. I'd clean them up some other time.
I don't generally like to leave things like shoes outside for any length of time. I'm all too aware of the creepy crawlies that creep and crawl around here. But that day, my shoes were left outside overnight, forgotten.
The next evening, I was going for a run so I went outside to get my shoes. I gave them another good whomp on the concrete just to dislodge any spiders that may have been camping out in there. The arachnid community in this town has been known to launch occasional all-out assaults on me. They come in to my house and surprise me in the most wicked of ways. I don't know why they single me out sometimes. My motto is live and let live...just not in my shower, not between my recipe books, and not under the laundry room sink. Oh, and don't be crawling in my mouth while I sleep! (Someone please tell me that's just an urban legend so I can sleep peacefully once again. I don't even care if you're lying. Just tell me convincingly that that ridiculous statistic that says you will eat 8 spiders in your lifetime while you sleep is complete rubbish.)
My shoes appeared to be spider free. I slipped them on and started my run. Not two minutes later I was running by the park near my house. Some boys were playing b-ball on the half court. I started to feel a twitching sensation under my toes with each pace. Immediately I knew. I stopped short in a a panic. A piercing shriek escaped me. I yanked off my shoe one-legged stork-style, and hurled it a few feet down the sidewalk. I cautiously crept forward, chest heaving. I peered into the shoe, knowing full well the intruder's sole intent was to seek and destroy. Yes, seek me out and destroy me with it's vicious fangs. In a display of uncommon bravery I gingerly lifted the shoe by the shoelace. Nothing attacked. I held it up by the toe and gave it a violent flick. To my utter disgust and horror, out flew the black, furry, menacing, eight-eyed....
twig. It was just a twig.
Yeah, so I guess I was exaggerating (or just plain lying for effect) when I said it was black and furry. It didn't have octa-vision either. It was just your run-of-the-mill, garden variety twig. At this point, the adrenaline was wearing off and it finally occurred to me to look over at the b-ball boys. The three of them were standing slack-jawed, staring at me. Such was their confusion at my behavior that they didn't even attempt to avert their eyes, like the looky-loos that gawk with morbid fascination at a wreck on the highway. That's what I had become. A morbidly fascinating one-shoed wreck.
I suppose slack-jawed gawking is better than pointing and laughing. It's always good to see the silver lining in every unfortunate situation.
I sheepishly shoed myself and went about my run, which was uneventful thereafter.
As a side note, I'd like to leave you with a thought to ponder: If infant formula was carpet shampoo, I'd have the cleanest carpets in North America.
John 15:19 (NIV) If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
What We Do
We're a composting, rain-water-collecting, clotheslining, organic-backyard-farming, organic-food-eating, reusable-bag-toting, backyard-chicken-raising family that strives to put God first in everything we say and do. (Is there a political party for that?)