When the fruit we love betrays us
Have you ever had an incredible peach that raised your expectations for peaches, only to have them dashed time and time again?
I ponder as another peach season ends for me in ignominy.
My peach expectations were set too high during a long-ago biking jaunt with friends. We were in the proverbial middle of nowhere in the plains of Northern Virginia. Cycling along a deserted country road, we happened upon a peach tree in a resident’s yard. Nobody was home or around. We rode up, cased the joint, and finding it safe to filch, we picked several peaches and sped off.
A mile later we stopped and ate the peaches.
My peach remains the best I’ve had in my over 60 years. Biting through the skin, the juice coursed down my arm and dripped off my elbow onto my uncomfortable bike pants. My salivary glands more than gasmed — I recall the sweet sharp pain in my jaws, as if suffering too much pleasure.
I sucked the pit for many miles, then spit it out along the road in hope to make a new peach tree for some other passerby someday. (Actually, I needed to spit the pit before I choked on it.)
Suffice that peach was a mighty fine peach that has made every peach since disappointing. Yet as a wool-died Ohio Midwesterner, I’m optimistic. I’m determined to find a comparable, perhaps even rivaling peach. I will pursue that peach like Ahab with his whale, and dare to eat it like T.S. Elliott’s J. Alfred Prufrock even if it stains my rolled up flannel trousers as I walk upon the beach.
In my native and naïve optimism, I also hope for America.
Especially that reasonable Americans who voted for Trump, for whatever reason, will realize he’s far from as peachy as he’s always bragged. In fact, more than dry, mealy and disappointing, but rotten and wormy down to the broken pit.
Sure, Trump and his right-wing media machine chasing suckers for a buck have defended, deflected, dismissed or whatabouted every one of his innumerable haughty and sneering abuses of office, the Constitution and its emoluments clause, due process and rule of law, not to mention basic decency and decorum we expect of a president.
Republicans who once stood for values against the unwashed Democrat hoards now either love, accept or look away from Trump’s virulent stream of bald-faced lying about his lying and vindictive, venomous bullying against anyone who dares to question his regal self. As his loyal base of “real Americans” tragically cheers and eggs him on as he fuels and panders to their resentments.
Some even stoop to applaud Trump’s gleeful division of our country for his power and glory. Or they obsess about “The Squad” or Sheila Jackson Lee or repeat debunked lies and cite doctored photos that the impudent child who lectured the world about climate change was a puppet of liberals and terrorist Antifa.
(Funny how Trump’s climate-denier storm-troopers — most lacking basic science schooling yet smarter than scientists — went relatively easy on the fearsome Jason Momoa for pointing out what the impudent child did. Bullies tend to find it easier to pick on the likes of Greta than Aquaman.)
But, I ask respectfully, what true patriot could dismiss Trump’s Ukraine shakedown and cover-up?
What Constitution-loving American could swallow his spin to flip the script and smear his political rival?
If a U.S. President using the power of his office to rig his reelection like Nixon doesn’t demand an impeachment inquiry, then what pray-tell would?
What would Trump supporters say if Hillary had done this? Good god, Republicans impeached Bill Clinton for lying about a private affair, which of course no shocked-shocked Republican would ever have or lie about.
Recall also that the terrible horrible no-good liberal lying enemy-of-the-state New York Times endorsed the Clinton impeachment inquiry, arguing “the need to have those charges resolved in an open, orderly way.”
Why are Trump believers and his Congressional GOP puppets so afraid of having the facts? Wouldn’t they want to clear this mess — and his name — and end-zone dance all the way through Nov. 2020? Like they celebrated his slam-dunk Mueller exoneration?
These are rhetorical questions, like, “why can’t we trust peaches?”
To paraphrase a bromide attributed to the Brits, the truth of the peach is in the eating.
Let’s hope, however this plays out, that America has bitten enough of the Trump peach to know the time is long overripe to toss him. We’re over this. We’re better than this.
We may regret if we don’t. As Elton John lyricist Bernie Taupin wrote in their song “Rotten Peaches,” lamenting bad decisions,
Rotten peaches rotting in the sun
Seems I’ve seen that devil fruit since the world begun …
Yet like Seinfeld’s cockeyed optimist Billy Mumphrey, I still believe in the insight attributed to Churchill: Americans will always do the right thing only after trying everything else.
In any case, for now, I’m sticking with blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. Berries are stable, steady, reliable and deliver the fruit with no drama. We could use a lot of that right about now.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer