Ripe cherries on the tree in our backyard were a reason to celebrate when I was a child. It meant that school vacation was only about a week away (mid-June). Mom would be baking pies and canning what we could not eat right away to enjoy for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
When I was about 11 or 12 years old, Dad enlisted me to be his helper as he plucked the juicy cherries from the tree that nudged up against the back corner of the house. My grandfather, who lived next door, was convinced that one should pick fruit while standing firmly on the ground and lent us his long pole with a claw-like basket at the tip.
But, my Dad liked to get close to the action so he could fill buckets at a time without bruising the fruit. Carefully positioning a sturdy ladder, my father climbed up on the roof of our house to reach into the tree. After clearing the low hanging fruit, Dad decided to climb higher into the tree.
So he would not have to leave his perch to empty the buckets, I became his “runner” traveling up and down the ladder to empty each filled bucket. Quickly, the pails on the ground were filing up as the tree had fewer and fewer cherries to pick. And I was relishing every minute of my job as his helper.
Up the ladder with an empty bucket. Down the ladder with a bucket of cherries. Empty the cherries into the big pail and climb the ladder again.
My grandmother had cherry trees one had golden yellow cherries the other dark sweet cherries. They remain one of my favorite treats. I normally keep a bag of frozen ones to add to my yogurt or to eat when I'm craving something sweet.