By Bernadine Chapman-Cruz
I always dreamed of owning an apple tree, but this wish remained on my to-do-list. Then, one day while channel surfing, something not only caught my eye, but made my mouth water. Staring back at me from a shopping channel was a big, steaming hot apple pie. I could almost smell the sweet, spicy aroma drift into my living room.
“With giant apples from the Big Apple Tree, you’ll be able to bake a nine inch apple pie with only one piece of fruit.” The pitch further enticed me, as the camera moved from the pie to a close-up of the hostess’ sparkly teeth, perfectly coiffed hair and Cheshire cat grin. I knew she was talking directly to me.
“Ooh, it smells so good,” she said, taking a big whiff, her eyes closed leaving at least a half inch of false eyelashes resting on each cheek. I followed the hostess’ lead inhaling deeply.
When I opened my eyes, the screen had changed to ‘The Big Apple Tree Orchard.’
“Renown for apple trees producing giant apples big enough to make a nine inch apple pie out of each piece of fruit,” she reiterated.
“Delivered directly to your doorstep, The Big Apple Tree comes with a root ball ready to plant for only $39.99, plus shipping and handling. It can be yours today.”
Hooked, I couldn’t get to the phone fast enough to place my order.
As promised, within five days, my Big Apple Tree arrived. My heart beat wildly beneath my sweater as I ripped open the long thin box, revealing a large bulge the size of a small grapefruit encased in sturdy burlap. Apples! Apples! pounded through my brain, but it was only a root ball. On a mission, I dug deeper, flinging crumpled paper over my shoulder as I inched up through the protective wrapping.
To my dismay, instead of giant apples, I discovered a skinny stick no thicker than the thin bone of a skeleton’s leg, with three dead leaves clinging to four tiny branches no bigger than chopsticks.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. This tree will take years to mature, and even longer to bare giant fruit. My hopes of ‘a big apple pie’ were shattered.
Heartbroken, I rewrapped my coveted Big Apple Tree placing it back into the box. I pasted the pre-printed return label on the outside, grabbed my car keys and headed for the post office, stopping at the bakery on the way home.
That night, as I cut into the local baker’s juicy apple pie placing a big piece on my plate, I looked outside to where my Big Apple Tree would have been. A lump rose in my throat. I couldn’t even take a bite. Dejected, I pushed the plate away and picked up the remote control to watch television.
“Today we are offering ‘Pie of the Month,’” I heard. My heart began to beat wildly beneath my sweater as I gazed at a dozen luscious fresh-baked pies on the shopping channel table.
My eyes grew wide. My mouth watered. I knew I shouldn’t, but I reached for the phone. Copyright © 2011 Bernadine Chapman-Cruz