I like how life has a way of taking us in directions we normally wouldn’t take on our own, which was the case with me and this old, ugly peach tree that came into my life when I purchased my summer home in Colon, Michigan, many, many moons ago.
My initial opinion of the tree was that it was ugly, drew stinging insects and it blocked the view of the lake, so it had to go. However, when a neighbor happened over, he began to change my mind.
“Do you know what kind of tree that is,” he said pointing to it. “An ugly one!” I quipped. “Well,” he said, “it may be old and ugly but, it’s a Cal Red and that’s the sweetest, juiciest peach you’ll ever taste!”
Heeding his remarks, I decided to spare this misfit from becoming firewood until I could taste its fruit, which was ripening right about when another neighbor with a penchant for peaches – Kathi – came by.
Swift to supply me with a preserve recipe to test on the Cal Reds, I set to work on my first batch banking solely on the advice of these two strangers, and I am glad that I did because these peach preserves were by far, the very best I had ever tasted!
Thrilled with how delightful the recipe turned out, and doubly so because it was created with something I was set to turn into splinters, I happily offered up jars of this precious preserve to my neighbors because without them it would have never come into existence.
Likewise, that old peach tree may have been an eyesore, but it used the sweetness of its fruit to draw three strangers together who became friends to the end.
Sadly, the old Cal Red peach tree was struck by lightning and died the following year then, a few short years later, both neighbors passed into the beyond as well but, thanks to that old tree and its peaches, I now have the sweetest memories of all three that I can savor until we all meet again in God’s great orchard in the sky!
In the meantime, God steered my path to cross a new friend – Beth Hubbard – who grows the most amazing Flaming Fury peaches at Corey Lake Orchards in Three Rivers, Michigan. Their flavor, aroma and juiciness closely rivals that of my old Cal Red, especially since they are fresh, farm-picked.
Click here for that oh-so-precious peach preserve recipe to help you become a little peachy keen, too– ENJOY!