By Nikki Pelezo/Dirt Roads
My closest neighbor is a beautiful, 97 year old lady whom I dearly love. She is the proud owner of three of the most wonderful pecan trees this side of the Sabine River. I noticed her crop is mighty slim this year, but remembered back about seven years ago, when she had a bumper crop. That was the year she had been after me to come and get the pecans because either the crows would get them or sometimes she lets a local church group pick up all they want.
My phone rang and it was my neighbor, “You better get over here fast or there won’t be any pecans left.” I gathered a couple of those plastic Walmart bags, my antique ‘pecan picker upper’ and out the door I went.
My neighbor lives not quite a mile from me; the Autumn was providing perfect kite flying winds and a blue sky. I jumped in my car and squealed out of my driveway and headed her way. I rounded the first curve (here in East Texas the old roads have several 90° curves which might have had something to do with stubborn by-gone framers and pushy rural-route mail carriers) and I could just barely see her front yard. She must have had, what appeared to be twenty people in her yard swooping, running, dipping, diving, and jumping about getting her pecans. Those people must belong to that church group she talked about and they all appeared to be wearing one color- red.
I was irate! Here my neighbor promised me plenty of her pecans and this church group has decided to pick this day of all days to drop by. The more I thought about it the faster I drove. By the time I got to the second 90° curve I was doing 60 mph and took the curve on two wheels. That’s when I discovered no hoard of church groupies, but my neighbor was outsmarting the neighborhood crows. She had taken everything she had that was RED, hung them all from coat hangers and put out on the lower pecan limbs. Dresses, blouses, pants, a robe and even a pair of red house shoes. The wind was blowing through her pecan trees making the clothes pitch and sway. I skidded into her yard, fallen pecans flying everywhere.
There stood my neighbor, waving her cane at the murder of crows (that’s what she called the nasty boogers) lined up waiting to decimate her crop of pecans. Between her and I we filled my two bags full, then hung her clothes back inside her house. Slowly driving back home I turned and looked back to see crows flying in from all directions ready to partake of that wonderful East Texas bounty, Miss Hughlene’s pecans.