Those River Plums

All along the banks of Red River were little groves of wild plums, seeded by the flooding of the river. When these plums were ripe, always by the Fourth of July, they were like large rosy-red cherries. But they had a more luscious taste than any domesticated fruit. Mother made such great jelly and even greater jam from these plums, and the preserved jars lasted all through the winter. One of Mother’s favorite stories is about one Fourth of July when the whole family drove to the other side of the river to our very special plum patch. I was three, and this was my first year to pick plums.

When my gallon-bucket was half full, I reached for a juicy plum just where a wasp happened to be sitting. I let out a yell and spilled my plums; my thumb hurt for quite a while.

A few years older, I had my first selling experience: going door-to-door around our block selling gallon-cans of ripe plums to the neighbors for 10 cents a gallon. That was a bargain, even in those days.

Besides being delicious, those plums were an important part of our family’s food supply, along with Daddy’s vegetable garden, milk from his cow or his goat, and eggs from our chickens.

But it was Depression time; how were we going to buy the remaining supplies from the grocery store, such as sugar for Mother’s canning?

Well, there was an old-time family grocer in Sayre by the name of J.W. Ivester, the type of person who helps make this world a nice place. He trusted and respected Daddy as a friend. He let Daddy (and quite a few others) run up grocery bills (Daddy’s was about $20 a month for year after year). Daddy bought the bare minimum, nothing extravagant, and of course eventually paid in full. J.W. Ivester saw our family through the Depression.


Home | Grandfather | Father | Myself | Main Index