Confessing is Good for the Soul (or so they say)

title slide with peaches and my grandmother
my grandmother
My grandmother, 40 some years later, in her 90s

In the early 1970s, as a young teenager, I would spend a couple weeks each summer with my grandparents. The evenings were often spent fishing with my grandfather, as I’ve shared before. But on other evenings, we did other activities. This one evening, we headed over to J. B. Cole’s Orchard in West End to pick peaches. Cole grew huge redskin peaches, as big as a softball. And when ripe, they were so moist that biting into one sent juice streaming down your chin. 

After dinner, I got myself ready. I strapped my trusty Ka-bar sheath knife on my belt. I don’t remember why I thought I needed it, but during these summers, I kept it close. At least I’d be able to defend myself if wild animal attacked us while there amongst the peach trees. 

Once we arrived, we each took a bushel basket and set out into the trees. My grandparents worked one side of the tree. I picked peaches on the other side, carefully placing the ripe peaches into a bushel basket. While it was a peasant evening, my stomach wasn’t quite right. On occasion, I released a fragrant whiff of gas.

“Jeff,” my grandmother called in a rather angry voice. “Did you cut one?”

“What?” I shout back while thinking “Did my grandmother ask what I thought she asked?”

“Did you cut one?”

I’d never heard my grandmother speak this crudely. She sounded like a one of the boys in my seventh-grade class. Why was she asking if I’d farted? It’s just not polite. And how could she even tell on the other side of the tree? I had quietly released the gas. 

Finally, I spoke quietly and confessed. “Yes, a little one,” I said. My face was red with shame.

“Don’t be doing that,” she said. “Put your knife away. These aren’t our peaches; they don’t belong to us until we pay for them.”

“That’s why she’s talking about,” I thought to myself. “How do I get out of this situation?”

I accepted my grandmother’s chiding, not wanting to admit to my misunderstanding. In my young teenage mind, it was better to be thought of as a petty delinquent than one with gastrointestinal issues.

That evening, after picking several bushels, we paid the man and took them home. That night, instead of a Pepsi ice cream float, we had peaches on our ice cream. There were peaches for breakfast. For the next couple of days, my grandmother busied herself canning peach halves in quart mason jars, saving up for winter cobblers. And that weekend, we churned a freezer filled with peach ice cream. . 

Confession is good for the soul, they say. I’m not sure that includes confessing for transgressions not committed, but since I’m sure there are a few misdemeanors I’ve overlooked, confessing for this one transgression didn’t do me any harm. I never told my grandma that I confused cutting a peach with passing gas. There was never a reason to bring it up, even when she was in her nineties.