I’m in the car on the way to my in-laws’ orchard. I’ve got some kind of sinus thing going on. The sky is what they call “robin’s egg blue” around the edges, but up there at the apex the color is deeper. I always think it seems thinner, the blue stretched too far over the vast dark space beyond.

It’s hot.

We’re stuck in a long procession behind a tractor. Rural traffic jam. I’m sniffling. The kid is asleep in the back seat.

I have a whole list of things I could write blog posts about, but they’re SRS BSNS. Like the difference between taking sides and taking responsibility, or why people often feel terrible around genuinely good people. (I’m assuming that last one doesn’t just apply to me.)

But I don’t have the mental bandwidth to be that deep right now. It is the epitome of a Midwestern summer day. Fields full of corn or queen Anne’s lace or fracking sand pass by in a heat-haze. Parking lots full of school buses serve as reminders that hey—it’s almost time for classes to start up again.

I can almost smell the notebooks aisle at Target.

My in-laws are in the early part of the apple season. They don’t get a lot of opportunities to come see their grand-kid during the summer, so we’re going to them. We’re excited to see how the sheep go over. And the goats.

And the tractors. Kid is really into tractors right now.
John Deere is the only good green thing, as far as the kid is concerned. .

I tell the kid a story.

Once upon a time, there was a woman who loved broccoli. She ate broccoli for breakfast, broccoli for lunch, broccoli for dinner, even broccoli for dessert!

She couldn’t get enough!

One day she stopped by a road-side stand to buy some broccoli. The farmer selling it lifted his hat and said, “Hello, ma’am, finest broccoli around, care to buy some?”

“I love broccoli,” she said. “I’ll take all of it!”

The farmer gladly sold her all his broccoli. As he packed up his cart, he took out one last bundle. “Since you like broccoli so much, here’s some of my very best.”

The woman thanked him.

“Take care,” he warned. “Never eat more than ten bites, or you’ll regret it!”

The woman laughed, and promised, and went home with her broccoli.

And what do you think she did…?