As long as I can remember I have loved what we used to call “natural history.” And long ago, in my early high school days I was quite interested in native trees and helped my grandfather, Gus, tend his little tree farm. I thought I knew just about everything about our trees and I did know more about trees and nature in general than a lot of other people. I spent most of my time outdoors wandering, poking and observing.
Betty moved to our neighborhood in late grade school years and we grew up and played sports with a group of kids in “the field” which was the wild remnant of a small farmstead adjoining the MKT tracks. There were a number of outbuildings, fenced areas where livestock once lived, a small creek and what was left of an orchard. It was an wonderful place and there was enough level pasture for a good baseball and football and shinny field. Several trees were ideal for climbing and we devolved our talent for throwing pears with a long pointed stick. The passing trains made great targets.
Betty’s older brother, Bob, was a ham radio operator and somewhat of an electronic genius. I was fascinated by his gadgets and knowledge and spent a lot of time watching him work and make things, and I got to know the parents, Red and Virginia.
Several years later Betty and I began dating and sometimes we would drive out in the country to visit some of her relatives. Red’s parents lived on a small farm south of Flat Creek up on a bluff overlooking the covered bridge and the red brick buildings of the water intake plant. Red had worked there since he got out of school.
Grandmother and Grandfather Heuerman were elderly and still retained a lot of their German heritage. Louis still did a little plowing with a team of horses. There was an old coal mine on the property and on the edge of he bluff there was sandstone with wave patterns on the face testifying to it’s long ago sea floor residence. It was a fun place to wander in the fall.
On a rise up above the home was a small grove of trees with fruit. The leaves were all down. “These are persimmons”, Betty said, and she knew all about eating them at the right time when they were sweet and avoiding the unripe ones which are astringent and quite inedible. I was impressed with all she knew about this interesting new, for me, nature thing.
As time passed I learned a lot more about persimmons and continue to be fascinated with their biology and their folklore and enjoy eating the fruit every fall and enjoying its beauty. Likewise the bond with Betty grew and we were later married and raised a family and much later in retirement I started my forging business and chose the persimmon fruit as the logo because it is associated with so many fond memories.
For one who has much of an imagination, they may have been reminded of the Garden of Eden story here. Perhaps a fellow should be wary of eating a fruit offered by a girl but for me things worked out pretty well.
This image was taken by my older son, Keith, a few years ago. The studio is visible beyond the persimmons.