Thirteen years ago, I planted a persimmon tree in the back yard in hopes that all the fruit in years to come would fall into a handle-cranked sieve and into a mixing bowl for one of my favorite old-fashioned, old-world Thanksgiving delicacies–persimmon pudding.
I love persimmon pudding.
When I was a little girl, my grandmother Annie (or “Mama Tucker”) and I used to walk down to the edge of the woods where the wild persimmon trees yielded the best Thanksgiving fruit that man and critters (mostly opossums) ever put in their mouths. We’d gather a basket-full and head back to Mama Tucker’s country kitchen where the ripe fruit would be washed, pushed through a sieve, and added to a mixing bowl along with flour, sugar, hand-churned butter, eggs, milk, and spices; then, on into the oven for an hour or so. I used to stand by the oven waiting for that sweet goodness to make it to the Thanksgiving table.
Mama Tucker passed away in the summer of 1972; and as far as I know the wild persimmons at the edge of the woods near her rural farmhouse haven’t been gathered since.
Persimmon trees are one of nature’s contributions to the Thanksgiving table. They produce fruit that is the last of the year to fall. Even after the limbs are bare of autumn leaves, the fruit hangs on (even through a frost or two). It’s as if nature is providing life with a few more weeks of nourishment before the latent winter arrives.
Back in 2000, I started thinking about those autumn persimmon trees and decided to plant one of my own. I imagined gathering the fruit, following the old recipe, and dishing up the delicacy just like Mama used to do. I’ve watched my tree grow from a 4-foot high sapling to about 15 feet now, year after year waiting for the fruit to appear. And finally after thirteen years now, my tree has yielded a little fruit–not enough for the recipe, but still enough to confirm that I did, in fact, plant a real persimmon tree.
The air was a little chilly this morning as I walked my dog. Our usual route is to exit the back door, walk along the edge of the yard and down to the lake, then back up to where the persimmon tree stands. We’ve been taking this daily route ever since I noticed (with glee!) the very first little green ball of fruit that appeared way back at the the beginning of summer. It’s been interesting to see the 3 dozen or so fruit balls plump and turn from summer green to deep autumn orange these past few months.
This morning, the leaves have all fallen off; but the fruit still hangs on strong. They will be the last to fall in the nature cycle of my backyard. Although I won’t be gathering any persimmons for a Thanksgiving pudding this coming week, I am harvesting a bit of inspiration…
Be the last to let go. Hang on when all else has fallen.
In time, all things come to fruition–even if in small amounts and after many years.
Be thankful for the Divine plan that surrounds every aspect of life on this earth, for the place and purpose of all living things, and the promise of things to come in the circles and cycles of faith.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends.