There was a long box on the front porch when I got home the other evening. I spotted it as I pulled in to the garage. I wasn’t expecting a delivery and for a few minutes my mind raced with possibilities. The shipping label indicated that it had been sent by a dear friend who has become my pen-pal lately.
About a year ago I heard from two sisters who are both librarians. They remembered me as a regular patron of the Crestwood Library during my childhood. They had discovered my blog and found it to be an entertaining daily read. We exchanged several emails at a relaxed pace. Our correspondence has become more frequent as we discover more and more common interests, especially Catholicism, our families, grammar and figs.
I needed scissors to open the box. While I went to get them, I wondered if they had sent me a large crucifix that would need assembly. Upon returning to the porch, I looked more closely and realized that the box came from Willis Orchards in Georgia. The dear sweet librarians sent me a tree that will bear a dear sweet fruit! The fig!
They had been reading with interest my attempts at growing fig cuttings. They’ve also been reading about my new job and even logged in to hear me over the internet. The note with the shipping label read, “Congratulations! from Nancy.”
I emailed Nancy to tell her that the surprise had arrived. She wrote back immediately, telling me that the man in Georgia recommended a Brown Turkey fig tree because it should thrive in Knoxville. He also wished her a blessed day, which sounds normal to a Southerner but is surprising to a Northerner like Nancy. She also warned me to be careful not to injure my back while digging a hole for the tree.
My wife and I decided it would be best to get professional help. I’m still referring to gardening. We asked Oscar, a general contractor who cuts lawns on weekends, to plant the tree. Oscar has a love for plants. He put potting soil in the hole first, then the tree, then replaced the dirt. He gently washed the tree’s bark before soaking the roots with water. Naturally, I promised him the first fig.