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Stories from Cummins Nursery

About Cummins >> A family business >> Stories >> Dad's Corner

This is a section of Cummins Nursery dedicated to stories (preferably in some way connected to fruit and/or farming). We are open to stories you send in as well!!!

Kicking Leaves in Mr. Gage's Orchard | The Drive from Kinmundy | The Yellow Transparent Orchard | The Spray Crew |Hoodlin' |Loading Reefers | Ben Davis | Thirsty Cider | Backyard Orchards | Dad, Peeling Apples | Little Pearl and the Hot Box


The red and grey Ford tractor was nearly new; I'd been in love with it from first sight when Dad and I had gone over to Bill Lacey's to check it out two weeks ago. The $800 I'd paid in hard-earned army dollars still seemed a bargain, and now the nearly new Ford and I were on our way to Kinmundy, 30 miles north of Dix, to pick up our Hardie sprayer. Dick Broom was quitting the orchard business, and Dick's big cutunder Hardie rig seemed just what we needed for our new farm down in Union County.
Even at 10 miles an hour, the trip to Kinmundy seemed a quick one; driving my own tractor was a heady experience in itself. Dick had the Hardie ready to fly, its wheels greased, the hoses tied, every bolt and nut secure. Down Route 37 we rolled, 30 miles to Dix and overnight there, and then on the last Saturday of 1952, off for Alto Pass and our new farm on the High Ridge.

Seventy-five miles of highway from Dix to Alto Pass, but the miles flew past as I dreamed my dreams on the seat of our new Ford tractor. I dreamed my dreams of orchards ripe with fruit, of Elbertas and Halehaven, of Jonathan and Goldens and Winesaps, too. I dreamed my dreams of Cindy and I and little Jamie making trails through the wooded hills about, down the rocky cliff on the South side, down the creekbed on the North. I dreamed my dreams of ponds, of little lakes we'd make, a staircase of water in the valley, of diving board and rowboat, of bass and bluegill on the line. I dreamed my dreams of children, golden children we would have there on the Alto Ridge, of children running free across our land, down through our woods. I dreamed a house high on the hill beneath the great spruce, a house that looked across the valley to the Knob and backwards to the woods, a house so filled with joy that even in the night would shine.

    The bliss of dreams I carried through that drive, those miles along the road as the tractor purred its way. Not all those dreams came real, but some did and are today. The children came, God gave us five golden ones, these children of our dreams. We made our trails, we climbed our rocks, we waded in the creek. We planted trees, the tulip trees and pines, and they stand today in storied ranks, a forest now. We  planted orchard, apple trees and peaches too.  We even built a pond, the first we thought of three. The orchard is gone, the old trees gone, the young trees all gone, too. We never got to build that house, at least not there on Alto Ridge.

The dreams were good, the dreaming good, to pass the miles away. To dream a child, to dream a tree, to dream a house, all good to dream.

-- from The Orchard Remembered.

Dr. James N. Cummins
Emeritus Professor of Pomology, Cornell University

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