Sunday, June 17, 2007


The truth is, cherries have worms in them.

It's one of those things that you don't really want to know, but if you find out, you feel obliged to tell.

Our neighbors have a cherry tree - big, beautiful, with drooping branches that the husband despises because they almost knock him off of his riding lawn mower come spring. Every year the wife watches for cherries, sees them arrive small and green, and then one morning wakes up to a bare tree! She has no idea what happens to those cherries, but she strongly suspects the birds.

This year, I came home from a walk to see a ladder perched under the tree, and only her legs visible as she harvested red cherries by the handful. I ran and got a bowl, and wandered around underneath, looking for the low ripe ones, filling my bowl, and popping some into my mouth as we chatted.

She said her grandpa used to own a whole orchard of cherry trees, and she remembers picking them as a child. She also remembered her grandpa saying to the children, "If you find a worm, don't worry, it's just protein!" She laughed nervously. But, overcome with the bounty of that tree, the birds hassling her with flapping, indignant wings from above, she picked cherries and planned cobbler.

I took my bowl home and announced free cherries to all (organic!), but somehow they didn't attract too many buyers. I decided that maybe I would try a cobbler too, since they were a bit sour and I could clobber them with plenty of sugar. De-pitting the cherries was a doubtful job, with the insides looking...not quite as pretty as the outsides.

The third cherry held the prize. A fat, squirming, segmented white worm, pointed at both ends, writhed at the sudden light. It was half an inch long and if it landed whole on your tongue, you would know it. Scraping the beginnings of the cobbler into the trash, I resolved not to tell anyone. What is a little protein? I would be the stout farmer's wife who grew sturdy, healthy children, who were not the worse for wear from a little worm now and then.

But I would not eat another.

I recently read the story of an Eskimo, who asked the visiting priest, "If I did not know about God or sin, would I go to hell?" The priest answered, "No."

"Then why did you tell me?" he said.

Why, indeed.

My daughter happily popped another cherry into her mouth and I watched her chew, and spit out the pit, and I couldn't do it.

"I found a worm in a cherry," I said. She was crestfallen. She's not eating them anymore either. I have successfully ruined her for wild cherries, picked from our neighbor's tree, for all the springs yet to come.

The truth about cherries is something I sort of wish I didn't know.


kool kenna said...


Momma played Bass.... said...


Kulio said...

wow as in "good wow" or wow as in "that was so boring that the only thing I could think of to say is wow"...?

kenna I'll bet you'd eat a worm if somebody gave you enough money...

Lorio said...

How about cutting them in half before popping? Any visible "protein" would be more obvious, do you think?

But then, I love cherries.

Hate worms, but love cherries.

Kulio said...

ha! yes, and I do dearly love cherries also. Thought of that, but we also found a teeny tiny baby worm...small enough to be missed....and that was it. You had to see that fat worm...

kool kenna said...

yeah i probably would. at 5th grade camp last year this weird kid ate one. why i have no clue.

lorio said...

Worms and snakes are the only creatures who don't have cute babies.

Kulio said...

no way!

the only? wow!

Momma played Bass.... said...

Wow was meant to be a good comment, by the way.

My husband brought home a bag of cherries yesterday. They're from the grocery store - but now I'm leery.

Thanks for that.

love you

Crydo said...

weren't you complaining that I hadn't posted in awhile?

Momma played Bass.... said...

More! We want more! More writing!

kool kenna said...

yes! more!