A plumb tree on Summit Avenue in Union City, NJ was packed with plumbs this year. I have observed the tree for four summers. I finally picked one and ate it, as did many others who walked directly under branches that offer sweet shade along the sidewalk. All the plumbs were gone this morning.
On a walk on my first summer in Union City I called my grandmother while walking under that tree and shared with her that I cannot remember the last time I saw a plumb tree. She spoke of the pear tree in her yard she had cut down in the Seventies because “it was a pain in the ass picking up all those pears in the Fall and besides, we needed the firewood that year.”
My grandmother died shortly after that conversation. Every morning when I pass that tree on my way to work I say hello to her. This morning it was hot so I did not cross to that side of the street and I said to myself, “If Mal Mal can hear me under that tree she can hear me anywhere.”
My mind slipped into worry about having enough money for beer this evening moments before I got to the spot across the street from the plumb tree. “Good morning, Mal, Mal,” I whispered.
I spotted a $20 dollar bill at my foot, folded up neatly.
I know it was from her.
The beer is almost as good as those plumbs on Summit.