falling letters

aceofalmonds  asked:

Hello! I read (and enjoyed!) the story you posted of your grandpa and his tree disposal methods, and so was looking for the story you mentioned of your other grandpa menacing a peach tree with a baseball bat, but can't seem to find it. Halp?

That would be because I haven’t posted it yet!  Many people have requested the story mentioned in the tags “Grandpa Menaces a Peach Tree With A Baseball Bat”, So here it is, with a side of “Grandpa Menaces The Iowa Relatives With Giant Corn”

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For the Full Context of this tale, you have to understand how my dad’s side of the family got to America in the first place.  Prior to 1917, they were all farmers of limited success that migrated from county to county, trying not to starve, until a covey of the Fitzpatricks heard that they could be shoveling shit in Grand Americay, far away from the people they owed money to, so they all fucked off to Iowa and somehow made a fortune in the real-estate business in the middle of the depression.  Despite now being comfortably middle-class, they never actually gave up farming, and having a pair of glowing green thumbs was a point of pride in the family.

So, when Grandpa moved out to California, specifically to the Salinas Valley, which is where an absurd percentage of the country’s food is grown because it’s full of probably the world’s most stupidly good soil,  Grandpa had to continue the tradition and set up a garden in the backyard, planted various crops and flowers in January because fuck you this is coastal California, I can start stuff in the middle of winter, and invited his sister Leone and her growing brood of (at the time, 5, later 9 children) out to visit.

They came out in July, to escape the Midwest humidity and Butter fetish for a time, when the corn is typically getting to be around knee-height if things are going well.  Grandpa spent a long time asking how things were back on the farm, plying them with ice tea and grandma’s lethal Angel Food cake, before politely inviting Leone and her Husband Scotty out back to see how his patch was doing, oh its not much really, just a bit of fun for me and the children-

Scotty and Leone stared at the nine-foot-tall goddamn corn which was already setting fruit because it had been going since January.  At the watermelon plant that had taken over the side-yard, and at the other oversize and thriving crops that had taken over grandpa’s yard.  There was a few moments of awed silence.

“Well fuck you Edwin.” Scotty eventually said, before Leone whopped him over the head and the rest of the visit was a pleasant diversion.

the following spring though, Grandpa received a package from Iowa, specifically a small peach tree with a note saying “With Love, Scotty.”

Leone knew better than to engage in such shenanigans, because this is irish-agrarian passive-aggressive Bullshittery at its absolute finest.  “Sure, yeah, you can do corn.  Any asshole can do corn.  TRY THIS FUSSY-ASS PEACH VARIETAL INSTEAD, YOU ASS”  is perhaps a more accurate translation.

Grandpa, not about to be intimidated by a mere tree, planted that sucker in the front yard and proceeded to pamper it- bone meal fertilizer, a brand-new irrigation system, the works.  Hell, he would go out some times and talk to the darn thing.  It flowered, and he borrowed a behive from one of the local farmers to make DARN SURE that it got pollinated, because he was going to mail peaches to Scotty for Christmas, that asshole.

The tree. Did not. fruit.

That fall, grandpa reccived a letter from Scotty, asking after a couple paragraphs of circumlocutions, how that tree he sent was doing?

Grandpa got up, made himself a martini, picked up Dad’s baseball bat, and walked out to the front yard to have a discussion with the Peach tree.  

“I’ve just received a letter.”  he explained, waving the paper at the tree. “Asking when you’re going to fruit.  Now, I think I’ve held up my responsibilities to you as your caretaker, so it’s time for you to start providing.  Do you understand?  This spring, you better start fruiting or I will personally take this bat to you and turn you to into kindling.”

He stepped close to the tree, sticking his face in the branches as though whispering into it’s hypothetical ear. “Do not test me, you little shit.”

The next week, the tree bloomed out of season, and by February, it had set an obscene amount of fruit, which grandpa gleefully turned into preserves and mailed back to Iowa.

Here to shake things up

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