Suddenly over is peach season in my orchard, which consists, you may recall, of a single, heroic little tree in our front yard.
The fruit was large and beautiful this year, and there was little or no raiding of it — until someone unseen stepped off the sidewalk and harvested the last dozen or so peaches.
I’m smiling through the pain of the loss because Ann Howard wrote to offer solace in the form of a revelation that yard-grown peaches have been irresistible to neighbors or passersby since settlers first planted trees, and themselves, in the rich soil of Sonoma County.
Ann informed me that she’s been researching Dr. Elisha Ely, who in 1851 founded what would become Geyserville.
She wrote, “I was fortunate to locate 13 letters at the Bancroft Library that he had written to his widowed mother, sister and younger brothers in Connecticut from 1849-1862.” She discovered that Ely closed his letter of August, 1861, with this poetic lament:
“Hark! The Villains, that rustling sound, tis the chafing of their breeches. The Scamps in all this region round are Stealing Ely’s Peaches. A nightly pastime they make of it, too.”
A LETTER, handwritten, arrived from Phyllis Johnson.
She shared that she’s 83 and walks with a cane, and she recounted that on July 11 she drove from her home in Rohnert Park to Santa Rosa for errands. At Brookwood and Maple avenues, near the county fairgrounds, her car died.
Phyllis wrote, “A gentleman who was behind me saw my problem, pulled around me, parked and pushed my car to the curb.” Then the stranger phoned AAA.
“While he was the phone,” Phyllis wrote, “a lady who had seen him push my car drove up, parked and came to check on me, to see if there was a medical emergency. I assured her I was fine, just a car problem.”
She told the two good Samaritans she’d be OK as she waited for the tow truck.
“Soon,” she wrote, “a Santa Rosa Police car parked behind me and the officer came up to talk to me. He said they had received a call from the man who had pushed my car; he asked if they would check up on me.”
She thanked the patrolman and assured him, too, that she was fine. Not long after he left, the tow truck arrived.
Phyllis wrote that “after hearing about all the killings across the states” she wanted to acknowledge the kindness she received there on the street.
“Santa Rosa has a policeman to be proud of, and two citizens who are angels in my book.”
JOHNNY CASH and Merle Haggard have moved on and pretty much left the prison song to Buzzy Martin.
The Sebastopol musician and author has an entire repertoire, inspired by the time he spent teaching guitar to inmates at San Quentin. An aim of his music, and of the book that a Bay Area film production company seeks to make into a movie, is to alter the course of troubled kids who might be bound for cells.
Saturday night, Buzzy played a set at Penngrove’s Twin Oaks Roadhouse, warming up for Medicine Man. Afterward he and his wife, Laura, were headed for their car when an older fellow in work clothes and boots called out to him.