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Wild things: Persimmons in town

So the pastor’s wife spotted a persimmon tree in a nearby town the other day.

They happened to be taking the back way through a different neighborhood when she spotted it.

He stopped, she got out and checked to make sure it was actually a persimmon tree.

Two of the last several years, I had went with the pastor into his old stumping grounds in southern Illinois to pick persimmons. Both times we have made the trek around Veteran’s Day.

Well, this was a bad year for persimmons in the area we pick down there, so we didn’t go.

The tree in town provided another option.

To be honest, I kind of figured the pastor and his wife were nuts to think we could just knock on the door and pick up persimmons.

But at noon, pastor called and said, “Let’s go.”

We found the house, then tried to figure out the right door to knock on. Finally, a woman came to the door and laughed.

“Sure, pick all you want,” she said. “Do you need buckets?”

I asked if she wanted us to pick her some. She said no, they pick five or six each day and that is enough.

We had our own buckets and quickly picked a 5-gallon bucket’s worth by bending over or kneeling. The ripe fruit is on the ground and mushy. The fruit on the tree will give you, to use an old country phrase, “the trots.”

By the time we filled the bucket, our hands were nearly frozen with picking up the mushy fruit on a day with a raw north wind and the temperature about 40.

It was time.

We knocked on her door and offered thanks and her choice of fruit. She smiled and said she had plenty.

And she did, a whole tree still full of persimmons in late November.

On the way back, the pastor turned the heater on high and the tingles gradually left our red fingers.

Next up, persimmon pudding.