(This blog is dedicated to Verlyn Klinkenborg, distinguished member of the New York Times editorial board, a Princeton Ph.D., who lives on his farm in upstate New York and writes literary meditations on rural farm life.)
Here I sit, relaxed, gazing at amber waves of grain under spacious skies…
Just kidding! I've been spending too much time with Nelson DeMille's John Corey and have picked up his bad habits!!
I'm actually chained to my non-functioning A.C. in sweltering Manhotten... while Con Ed plays games with our electricity!
But back to my bucolic VK mode… today I paid $3 bucks for 5 measly peaches! And one was already rotten by the time I got it home!
I sat on the kitchen floor and recalled another time of peaches in my life… from a plantation near Augusta, Georgia.
I was visiting the Episcopalian St. Helena sisters in Augusta and promised to help them raise funds. The next night, at dinner with the family of one of my Sewanee students, at their enormous peach plantation near Augusta, the student's father offered to donate" some" of their produce to the good sisters, being a good Episcopalian that he was.
The next day a truck pulled up at the convent with tons - yes, tons - of Georgia's finest! All hands sprang on deck. You never saw so many peaches in your life!!!
The good ladies fed every hungry mouth for miles around from that bounteous truck load. As well as filled every can and jar and pan they could find!
If I'd weighed all that fruit at my local NYC market they'd have cost, I'm sure, tons of dollars! But nothing like 5 for three $$$.
The next day I had an appointment with the manager of a big, fine department store in town. Before I met with the big guy I did some shopping on my own – a lovely evening gown, a pink raincoat and a pair of heels.
Then I went to my meeting. After several minutes of pleasant conversation he handed me a sealed envelope.
"My contribution to the dear sisters," he said, ever the charming southern gentleman.
When I gave the envelope proudly to the head nun, I imagined vast sums. After all, it was bigtime philanthropy! It was the finest store in town!
She showed me the check. It was the EXACT amount I'd spent that day at the man's store!
You want to talk about the meaning of Quid Pro Quo?????
T. J. Straw