Whenever I Buy Plums

IMG_2223I took this photo yesterday when I bought plums at Fresh Market. Whenever I buy plums I  remember a true story that happened when I was a child. For a time, my parents owned a small house in Finville, Michigan, a farm community, a place they used during hunting season. When they realized they didn’t like eating the birds they shot from the sky, they saw no reason to continue hunting. The reason to keep the cottage shifted to vacationing. It was a place I loved. I have wonderful memories of the three children I played with across the road who included me into their farm life. For a reason I no longer remember, I ran away from that cottage one summer day with a bag of plums in hand. This memory made its way into a scene in the new book, Facing East.

“I did run away once when I was eight years old from the summer cottage my parents owned in Michigan.” Johanna, who normally enjoyed Katherine’s reminiscences, relented and asked, “How come?”

“I have no idea, but before slipping out the back screen door, I helped myself to a handful of plums from a bowl on the kitchen counter and put them in a brown paper bag. I headed into the cornfield behind the cottage.” Katherine paused and savored the recollection.

“I’ve never forgotten the hot summer sun or the sound of flies buzzing in the heat, the uneven ground between the corn rows where I walked. By the time I reached the end of the field, I’d eaten all the fruit. It didn’t take long to decide my running away was over. I turned around and went back to the cottage. No one noticed I’d been gone.” Katherine finished her tale. “To this day, when I buy plums, I think of that long ago summer.”

Hope you can enjoy eating delicious plums this summer. Try not to drip on the pages of Facing East  while you’re at it.

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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4 Responses to Whenever I Buy Plums

  1. pbmgarden says:

    Great story. I had no reason to run away, but it used to seem an exotic adventure.

  2. dino0726 says:

    I think that’s very cool to be able to incorporate a little true life event from your childhood into the story. 🙂
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal – Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews

  3. noelleg44 says:

    What a lovely memory, Stepheny! I remember the day I decided to run away, too. And my brother’s and my daughter’s. My son did it for real – disappeared during a snow storm when he was in high school and drove to Florida with a friend. He did keep in touch, though! Wonderful that yours is centered around plums!

  4. Nothing better than eating fresh plums in the summer! They must have been delicious for you to recall your childhood memories. My favourite plum is the blood red satsuma plum. Which also makes the most wonderful jam

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