So, I hear they want to turn our blueberry patch into a high-density residential complex.
The “they” in this case is the West family, which has been in West Orange County for generations. They own “our” blueberry patch, so it’s their prerogative, I guess. Until he died a couple years ago, ol’ Tom West grew oranges on his property.
I’ve lived across the street for 27 years, and I’ve always appreciated the well-kept rows of trees heavy with fruit, the work that went into keeping the heaters running to fend off winter freezes and the fragrant smell of orange blossoms each spring.
I didn’t really know him, but Tom was a good neighbor. He called me one day after reading the phone number on the dog tag on my wandering poodle. He snatched the dog up when he spotted him darting across busy Orlando Avenue. That was the only time I made the long drive to his big house. He handed over the pooch with a friendly nod and a smile.
Well, Tom’s gone now, may he rest in peace, and the oranges have been replaced by blueberries. And although I don’t eat them myself, I will say the long, straight rows of freshly watered green plants glistening in the setting sun is a beautiful sight to behold. The past couple seasons, the Wests have invited people to pick their own berries, and if the long line of cars parked there is any indication, people love it.
Still, time marches on, and progress is progress. Who am I to tell my neighbor what to do with their land? Still, the thought of pulling up all those beautiful plants and putting in anything else will take some getting used to.
It’s not that I’m anti-development; I’m just pro-blueberries.