This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle. It has been said that everything comes full circle. I know this to be true when I am chasing my tail. Some of us live long enough to see things change a little…or a lot. And often, those changes, although expected, throw us for a loop around that circle.
Such was the case this weekend. You know that we have been gone from the orange grove for over two years now to go on the Adventure Of A Lifetime. And you know that our old yellow house was by that orange grove. You may also know that Girl Person’s mom and dad (Gandma and Gandpa), Country Cousin Person, Aunt Mary Person and Cuddles all still live there. In fact, Pappy and Granny Person, Country Cousin Person’s parents and even Pappy’s parents all lived there at one time too. Can you keep that all straight? Me neither. Let’s just say a lot of Girl Person’s family called that land home. So for Girl Person, when she goes back to the orange grove, and looks out at it, she pictures running thru it when she was little. She pictures times gone past, good memories and bad. She sees her and Boy Person building their house. She pictures leaving that house. And a million things in-between. But she always sees the oranges. Time changes around them…but somehow, they have always been there. Until now.
One of Girl Person’s favorite memories with her Pappy was feeding the family’s herd of cows when she was little too. They had been there for awhile even before that, being taken care of by Pappy’s Aunt Emma who is in the picture you see. Yeah, that was a really long time ago when they moved from another country to grow orange trees in that Florida place.
Every day, at 5 o’clock, Pappy would pick up all of the grandkids in his truck and they would drive to feed the cows. They would laugh as the cows tried to run into the truck, steal the rotten oranges out of it, and generally make a scene. Girl Person laughed when one day they chased her into the swamp to protect their baby. Girl Person got to help Pappy bottle feed the babies when they were born too early. And generally, the cows and the orange grove were part of what made her. They were part of not only her memory, but her being. I get it. There are many things that made me up too. Like peanut butter cookies, perfection and handsome.
As many miles as we have traveled, as many times as we have left, Girl Person always says that her home is in her heart. And it is a comfort knowing that it will be there when we come back. Because we always come back. No, not to a house made out of sticks and bricks. But a home that is the orange grove.
However, sometimes, just when you think that everything will always stay the same, well, it doesn’t. And we knew when we went back this weekend that the orange grove would look different. Because. All of the trees. Had died.
Country Cousin Person has been fighting a battle of sorts to try and save the trees for many years. At one time, they flourished, they were happy and healthy. But time and circumstances took its toll. And as the memories around those orange trees stuck with everyone, and the history of the family, it became harder and harder to let them go…even though there was no hope. Until. One day last week, well, it was time. Time for realizing that love could not save them. No matter how hard everyone tried. It was time to realize that the ones there before us, well, they weren’t here anymore either. And I suppose that for the persons, all of this made everything harder. Everything. I felt it.
But I was hoping that Girl Person would be strong. After all, hadn’t we left here years ago? Hadn’t we sold that yellow house behind the orange grove? Hadn’t we said goodbye? Already? Hadn’t we gone our own way?
So when we went to take our usual walk to the orange grove, and we looked around, I looked at Girl Person. She was being strong. We took our usual path. But there were no trees for shade. We took our usual roll in the grass. But there were no oranges on the ground to roll on.
The orange trees had all been pulled up. And it was like they were never there. The land looked bigger than before but empty.
Yet, Girl Person was still being strong. And I was surprised. But that was until she saw it. One. Lone. Orange. In the distance. In the pile of trees that had been agonized over, loved, and worked on for years, was one lone orange. And Girl Person? You guessed it. As Pappy would say, she “sat out there and bawled like a baby.”
You would think that you could get a little privacy when you are sitting in the middle of an orange grove bawling like a baby. But as Girl Person cried, and I worried about her crying, I heard it. A woman person standing by a new fence. A woman person that had bought our yellow house. And she waved at Girl Person. And she asked her if she was ok. And Girl Person? She simply said nope. She was crying over the orange trees. She didn’t care who knew. But as I listened to them talk about the land, and I even heard their chickens crow, I also noticed it. There was a fence. There was a new fence. There had never been a fence. Never. And it wasn’t the new owner of our yellow house that had put up that fence. It was Country Cousin Person. And since I am Sheriff, and I know boundaries, fences, and no trespassing signs like the back of my paws, I had some thinking to do. And quick. And I knew. And I felt it. And then I heard them confirm my suspicions. You see, the orange trees? They were gone. So who was the fence for?
Something…or someone else was coming to take the orange trees’ place. Familiar faces. Were we going to welcome back the beauties that graced this land with the orange trees years ago? Were some lives lost making way for new lives? Can you say…MOO? I am a Sheriff so I don’t say that. But you can.
The persons continued talking by the new fence. And they said it. Yep, there were cows on the way. There were rescue donkeys on the way to watch those cows. And I was excited. Even if we weren’t here all of the time, donkeys made excellent deputies. And I knew that the cows were going to be watched over. And I also knew that for Girl Person, this was going to make losing the orange trees just a little less…sad. Simple word, but I’m a simple man. Yes. Man.
I believe, and I know, that persons always complicate things in life. But some things like the orange grove wasn’t complicated. It was the simplest, most lovely thing in Girl Person’s world. No, not for the oranges. No, not for the orange blossoms, the bees on the blossoms, or the dark green leaves. Not for the smell of the dirt, or the pie pan tins hanging from old rope in the trees. But it was lovely because of who loved it. And when those persons were gone, and then the trees were gone, it was like it ALL was gone. However, when the circle of life seemed unbearable, it was filled again with anticipation. Hope. And excitement of Country Cousin Person’s new cows. Just like the way it had all started. And now? We may not smell the orange trees. But I can tell you what we will smell! And it is even worse than Deputy Digby.
As with Girl Person, you may travel many miles trying to chase away your memories. You may think that you shook them off at a desert in New Mexico, or a flood of rain in West Virginia. You may think that you left them on top of the Empire State Building, or in the caves of Kentucky. But when it comes down to the circle, you realize that there is no getting away from the ones that you love. Whether they are trees, land, people, furkids…memories are just that. And when you can learn and use changes to make way for other beauty, that is when the memories can be admirable, learned from, and. Lovely.
Orange trees? I will never forget the first day I saw you when I came home from the shelter jail. I had no idea how many times I would walk among you, and I had no idea how many times we would walk away. But thank you for being here as long as you were, for reminding us of the home in our heart, and for being here until the cows came home.
-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle
P.S. We were supposed to pull out of town today for Amelia Island and Jacksonville, Florida. But changes…again. Seems that Memaw Macaw needs our help for changes of her own and now? Well, we will be here until the 23rd. Our adventures will have to wait. That will be coming up on tomorrow’s blog. Don’t miss it!
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