The dreaded item.


The Great Green Persimmon Debacle

The great outdoors is the most dangerous place on earth, as compared to, say, the lesser indoors, which is not really dangerous at all unless it is infested with fiddleback spiders, man-eating centipedes, gangsters, politicians, or certain grade school teachers. But one finds a much denser concentration of scorpions, pythons, vultures, weenie dogs, cows, and related peril-causing things in the great outdoors. And this includes green persimmons.

Perhaps the most effective rite of passage into manhood is a hike through the wilderness with one's father and brothers. Fathers do not slow down when confronted with horrific, plate-sized spiders perched on webs spread between two trees. In fact, they don't even see them, so they trudge right along, leaving their offspring to battle it out with the local wildlife at the risk of their own lives. Yes, many a young lad has been lost to such exercises, and Darwin would be pleased to see his survival of the fittest idea still being played out well into the 1970's.

It was one such occasion on which the famous Tate boys of Tecumseh, Todd, Dane, and Lance, met their most challenging, life-threatening experience to date. Had it been a field exercise in a Marine Corps training camp, several extra stripes would have been sown on the Tate boys' sleeves the minute they reached the base. New guerrilla warfare tactics would have been written into the manual, based on the lessons learned by the events which I will now lay before you without further space-filling ado.

The sun was beginning to sink in the sky. The day was hot and dry. Various insects with nothing better to do were making obnoxious noises. Vultures, sensing the wiles of Lee Tate about to be unleashed, had begun to gather around the outskirts of the sky above the field of battle. Lee Tate was walking through an open pasture, having just emerged from a section of darkest primeval, creature-infested forest. The Tate boys were lagging behind, smitten with thirst, hunger, fatigue, and general misery. An innocent looking tree loomed ahead in the distance. Lee Tate maneuvered in the direction of the tree. The Tate boys were unaware that the dangers behind them paled in comparison to the dangers which lay ahead. Lee Tate approached the tree, reached up, partook of the fruit of the vine, made a stealthy pretense of eating, and said the following words, verbatim:

"Oh boy! You boys gotta getcha one a these! Boy, these are good!"

The Tate boys, famished from the grueling adventure of the episode heretofore, each, in turn, partook of the fruit of the vine, which was, in short, green persimmons.

Have you ever eaten a green persimmon? Obviously not or you would not be reading this, having seen the words "green" and "persimmon" in the title. Any fool who has eaten a green persimmon is dead. Any poor, gullible, mere child, who, having been tricked by his very father into biting into a green persimmon and lived to tell about it, would not find pleasure in reading about the exploits of fellow humans being mixed up in any way with any amount of green persimmons. In third world countries, citizens, once free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, have been forced by ruthless dictators into the persimmon fields to die a cruel death. In a field outside of Tecumseh, Oklahoma, a ruthless Leetator lead the citizens of his own household to the brink of death with one heartless, mean, unfeeling act of trickery and deceit.

The result, because of three respective lifetimes of growing immunity to the crafty and nasty tricks of their own father, was that the Tate boys survived and not only survived, but reacted with swift and merciless justice. Green persimmons hurled through the air with unerring accuracy and proved that the deadly fruit, previously known in the underworld only for its poisonous efficiency, was quite effective as projectile material. Lee Tate was, in a word, hammered by green persimmons. You have, no doubt, seen those WWII films where large bombers drop hundreds of bombs at a single stroke, and you can therefore picture what the green persimmon retribution resembled. A veritable hail storm of green persimmons rained down upon Lee Tate the way allied bombers treated Berlin in the closing months of the war.

Obviously, Lee Tate never tried that particular stunt again. But wait...something stirs the memory. Ah yes, the old stories come back to me now with special magnificence. They were told in area barber shops for years. One must understand, though, that Lance, despite his prowess as a ball player, and thus an acomplished green persimmon gunner's mate, was very young at the time of the Great Green Persimmon Debacle. So, for him to fall to the tragic prank a second time, can be attributed to the weaknesses of the youthful mind. If the stories are true, however, the retaliation on the second occasion, albeit from a mere army of one, equaled, if not surpassed that of the first encounter when the Tate army numbered three. It can safely be said that Lee Tate never again ventured to use what some refer to as the ultimate biological weapon. And if the humble efforts of this writer succeed, he never will. The pen is mightier than the persimmon.

© 2015 Dane Tate