Yakima apples


Early last week, the incomparable Apollonia gave me a little mesh bag of Pink Lady apples. “You want these?” she said. “Take them.”



“What’s the matter with them?” I asked warily. “Are they poisoned?”



“There’s nothing wrong with them,” she said. “Eh. They’re not aesthetically pleasing to me. You know how I am.”


“Oh yes I do, God help me” I said, accepting the bag. “Can I huck them at people I hate?”



“Go wild,” she said.



I took them to Ethan, a student who works for me. “You like apples?” I said, proffering them to him.



Yeah,” he said incredulously, taking them from me. (University students seldom turn down food.) Then he became wary, just as I’d done. “What’s the matter with them?”



“Nothing, so far as I know,” I said. “Except that Apollonia didn’t want them. She has very high standards for produce.  Plus, she’s a lunatic.”


Then, as I handed him the bag, I noticed on the label that the apples were grown in Yakima, Washington.


I’m a Washingtonian by birth; my father was born not far from Yakima, as were two of my siblings. There’s a pretty large Native American reservation there, and back in my parents’ time, the Yakima used to lease out reservation land to local non-Native American farmers. My mother had a pair of beaded buckskin gloves that she’d gotten in those days; she kept them in a drawer in her vanity desk, wrapped in paper, and would get them out once in a while and show them to me. (I have no idea where those gloves are now. It’s only my brother and me now, as both our sisters have passed away; I hope he has them. He was born in Yakima, after all.)



Ethan saw me looking strangely misty, as all these memories crowded through my head. “What’s the matter?” he asked.


“Nothing,” I said. “My parents lived not far from where those apples were grown, when they were first married. On the Yakima reservation.”



“I didn’t know you were an Indian,” Ethan said with interest.



“I’m not.” I sighed. “It’s a long story.”



But that didn’t stop me from telling it, to him and to you, did it?





About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

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