The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Impossible to waste something as precious as a good peach


July 10, 2019

I was at church on a July Sunday a few years back when a friend came up and whispered to me furtively, “The pizzas should be ready Thursday.”

I’ll be honest: I didn’t hear much of the sermon that day because I was baffled. Was she speaking in code? Was I missing a key piece of information?

Well, yes, it turned out, I was.

I’m a notoriously bad listener, and this friend was alerting me to the fact that the PEACHES that were practically breaking the branches of her trees that year would be ready to pick later in the week.

I was reminded of this because social media for the last week has been filled with photos of blushing peaches at the peak of ripeness.

It also takes me back to the days when our own now-extinct orchard gloriously gifted us with what I consider the finest fruit of the summer.

My grandparents planted most of the fruit trees of my childhood. It was a magical paradise that I loved and never truly appreciated until it was gone.

There was no one terrible event, but rather a gradual demise due to age, disease, and the occasional drought. A handful of young replacement trees were entirely destroyed by a plague of grasshoppers one sad season.

At its best we had perhaps a dozen gnarled peach trees, but life on the High Plains is ruthless to fruit blossoms, so most years we had few or no peaches.

But on rare occasion, the stars aligned, the late freezes dodged us, and the tree limbs sagged with even more peaches than the mockingbirds could spoil.

Those were the best of times.

Bliss for me is a perfectly ripe peach (or two or five), warmed by the summer sun, consumed in the shade of the tree on which it was grown, juice dripping down my chin and off both elbows.

In an abundant year, we filled our freezer with their golden goodness and enjoyed them in pies, cobblers, over ice cream, or simply by the bowlful.

Although I do not recommend or condone this, my family has consumed freezer peaches that were old enough to vote. It’s impossible to waste something as precious as a good peach, even if it does boast a kick.

If you have peaches to spare, you know where to find me.

And, for the record, I am also a willing harvester of pizzas.

Let me know when they’re ready.

Betty Williamson has a ladder, a bucket, and a pizza cutter. Reach her at:

[email protected]


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