In August I bought a large box of peaches at an orchard in Delta. The road wound up the hill to a mature dark green farmhouse, four-square, two stories plus, surrounded with huge cottonwood trees. Cars parked along the country road and customers shifted and mingled at the end of the driveway. The orchard’s pickup truck was parked in the driveway, the tailgate down, supporting boxes of peaches. Under towering trees, a row of tables, laden with peaches, lined one side of the driveway. I stepped out of my car into something extraordinary.
The vendor was something to behold. I named him Peach-man. He was tall, lean and energetic. His smile was bright and warm. But his charm was his obvious love of peaches. He engaged his customers, serving and educating them. In gracious hospitality, he cut succulent peaches in half and offered them on sheets of paper toweling. I ate.
Peach-man led me to the peach covered tables the way a man might show off his library of rare first editions. In the shade of the cottonwoods, I learned the ways of the peach. He held an imaginary peach under an imaginary water faucet to show me how he gently washes a peach. Every morning he picks peaches. These are fresh off the trees. All these peaches are red, he tells me. That is not a sign of ripeness. Neither is yellow. Orange is what you want. Peaches are in the rose-family which accounts for their delicate perfumy fragrance. He shows me that a peach has a seam down one side. Slice down that seam and the peach opens easily. He warns me, the bottom end of the pit is sharp. Remove the pit from the top. Then Peach-man jogs twenty feet to get a box for me to fill.
There was something more: the atmosphere among strangers united only by this peach-buying experience. We mingled like neighbors, dropping light comments to one another as we threaded our way around the truck fender or sniffed a peach, orange and ready. A woman in her eighties sat in the car and ate her peach. She told me, This is the best peach I’ve had all year. It may be the best peach I’ve ever had.
Before Peachman carried my box to the car, he asked, “Would you like to wash your hands? I have paper towels here.” And I felt the presence of God. What Peach-man did at the end of his driveway on a country road, I want to learn from and emulate for the glory of God and the furtherance of the kingdom.
“Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men” (Proverbs 22:19).
Live the mystery!