The Sunshine Factor

where sunshine is a way of life

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Response to Daily Prompt 7/27/13

Daily Prompt: A to Z

by michelle w. on July 27, 2013
My response:
A 1910 photograph of The Orchard in bloom

A 1910 photograph of The Orchard in bloom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Apples, cherries, apricots and peaches are what her dad grew in his orchard on a high hill. Bees made it a point to drink the nectar from the blossoming trees in spring and summer. Choirs could not attempt to capture the glory of this orchard. Dentists liked the orchard because their patients could eat something healthy, that wouldn’t cause problems for teeth. Everything in its time and place, the orchardist often said. Failure to try meant a failure to live fully. Gossiping was over-rated, since it was not a very healthy habit. Hayrides could be held in orchards, but not in this one. Importance was placed on working hard, not hardly working. Jugglers would love to juggle in this orchard, as the view to the surrounding Lake Michigan would have been a beautiful backdrop. Kildeer birds were found in the orchard, the birds with the long, spindly legs and seagull-like cry. Lake Michigan down below was like a beautifully sparkling, blue jewel. Monarch butterflies flew nearby, but human monarchs did not have as beautiful a kingdom as this. Never be afraid of hard work, the orchardist said. Optimize joy, is the idea his daughter now practices. Press memories firmly in your heart so they can add value to your life. Questions in life will always abound, but good questioning leads to wonderful living. Ranting and raving tends to bring a person down, so stay away from it. Sarcasm is also another energy-draining vice that is a good idea to leave at the door. Troubles are made easier by sharing with a trusted friend. Umbrellas do their best work when rain is falling without heavy winds. Victory can be ours if we but persevere. When someone asks for help, freely give it, because someday you may be asking for help. Expound on the good, forget the bad, and balance can be found, pretty as a peace rose.  Yellow is the orchardist’s daughter (me)’s favorite color, its creaminess being a very calming feature for her.  Zebras are black and white, but woe to the person who sees the world in just those colors.


Happy Birthday, Cherry Blossom!

English: Cherry tree blossom Русский: Цветущая...

English: Cherry tree blossom Русский: Цветущая ветка вишни Latina: Prunus cerasus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve had so many nicknames throughout the years, it’s fun to go back and try to recall them all. 🙂

The one having to do with my dad’s cherry (and other fruit) orchard was the one that was my favorite, but only one person ever called me that (one of my dad’s sisters). I loved spending time in the orchard, and to that end, that’s why I thought the nickname “Cherry Blossom” would be easy to remember. Here’s what I liked about the orchard:

My dad, always having loved forestry and nature, would sometimes bring us home something to teach us…I remember the pail of water he brought home (our orchard was on the outskirts on the other side of town) filled with water from the small pond. The pail had a few tadpoles in it. I forgot what we fed the poor things, but grow up they did: first they grew legs, then their tails disappeared. Then it was time to let them loose!

There was a little, two-room, run-down shack in the middle of the orchard, in the shade and near a bubbling brook. Dad affectionately called it “The Hilton.” I wanted to sew him some curtains for the two windows, but then I realized I hated to sew! (This was at age 10, but I still have not changed my mind about sewing! haha)

The water in the creek running through the orchard was mesmerizing – a quiet but happy sound of bubbling water – and the water quality was better than what we have nowadays in “filtered water”. It was clean, clear, and refreshing!

The grass in the orchard grew tall between the rows of fruit trees. My dog Cookie took great advantage of that. Dad would drive our two dogs to the orchard. As soon as the dogs got out of the truck, Cookie would leap through the high grass, jumping high like a rabbit. (You could see her “smile”, she was so happy to not have to be on a leash.) Trixie, our older dog, just ambled along slowly. Evidently the orchard wasn’t her favorite place like it was Cookie’s.

Last but not least, there were the dark (sweet/”black”) cherries. We as a family could not eat many of them, since they would be sold at the markets in town, but we still managed to eat too much of them. (If you’re not aware of this, sweet cherries can give you a good stomachache if eaten in excess.) My mom made the best sweet cherry pie – the rich custard she would pour over the cherries baked around each individual cherry. Pure bliss!

“Cherry Blossom”



Happy July!

Lake Michigan - Landsat Satellite Photo

Lake Michigan – Landsat Satellite Photo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may have read that I am crazy about the first day of every month. First days are like a miniature New Year’s Day, when we get a new clean slate and have another chance to work hard and at the same time enjoy ourselves.

July is the month of my birth, so I am really happy when July 1 arrives. Even before cancer, I loved birthdays, mine and everyone else’s, and I never got depressed over an upcoming birthday. Now A.C. (after cancer) I love birthdays even more. They are proof that I have a life, that I am still alive and have not missed out on anything. My birthday is a wonderful time in which to count my blessings…and thank God. 🙂

Thinking of July reminds me of the sweet cherries that my dad raised in his orchard in Michigan (and the peaches…and the apples…and the apricots…and the pears!) and how the National Cherry Festival was always held during the week of my birthday. My mom would take us kids to downtown, we would set up our folding chairs to wait for the parade, and I would take my birthday money and buy myself more Nancy Drew books. How convenient that I had something to do (read) while waiting hours for the parade! 🙂 I didn’t receive an allowance, and the fact that I used the very occasional money to buy Nancy Drew books…well, does that explain why I love books more than practically anything?! 🙂

My dad could not go to the parades with us, as he was busy in the orchard during that time of the summer. He hired migrant workers to pick the cherries; he didn’t have shaker machines. If I recall correctly, July, August, and September, he often worked 18 hour days in the orchard (the peaches came in late August).

Thinking of July also reminds me of Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes. We lived very close to it. My best sunburns were achieved there on the beach, as if memory recalls correctly, I was down at the water all day, every day. 🙂  In my mind, I can still hear the slap of the water on the innertube I was floating in and the smell of the lake water that was occasionally splashed onto the magazine I was reading while floating.  🙂

Oops, I digressed again. Thank you for taking a trip down Memory Lane with me. I do hope that even if your birthday is not in July, that you have a phenomenal month. 🙂

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Romance in Everyday Life

English: St. Lorenz Lutheran Church in Franken...

English: St. Lorenz Lutheran Church in Frankenmuth, Michigan, USA. My great-great grandfather was one of the settlers who founded this church, and I lived near St. Lorenz until we moved away when I was 7.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I’ve been reminiscing about how my parents met.  To an ultimate romantic like me, their common little life was a big romantic event.  Back in Michigan, my dad was a farmer who courted his honey, my mom, by driving into the city and picking her up for lunch where she worked.   They probably looked unusual to people in the bank – he with his work clothes on and my mom in her very sedate business attire.  This story speaks of people with very different occupations finding a common ground.   Awwww!

I am sure at the time they got married, they had no idea that they would not end up in Dad’s hometown  (and many, many years later, mom moving to Minnesota to be with her youngest daughter (me) and son-in-law).  Or that Dad would semi-retire and become a lumberjack AND a cherry farmer in Traverse City  (always the gardener, he made our home gardens beautiful and later added trees of apple, plum, peach and apricot to the cherry orchard across town, with a very good, high view of  West Bay).

Apparently, romance can happen when and where you least expect it – and one can never know for sure just where he or she will end up and what kind of life they will have.  Romantic!

I now turn the podium over to guest commentators with tales of romance about themselves or their family members.  🙂  You know how we on WordPress love stories!