“It’s definitely food for thought,” declared Ava-Margaret. She had been entertaining a guest at her apartment in the retirement village and they had discussed how late December-early January seemed to be the time the Grim Reaper made an appearance. “It’s funny,” said Ava-Margaret, “we older people don’t seem to have the resilience against illnesses that we used to have in younger years.”
Because Ava-Margaret and her visitor were enjoying a lovely cup of tea didn’t mean that Ava-Margaret was doing nothing. She was busy chopping up rhubarb to make rhubarb jam. “I know I’m early,” said Ava-Margaret, “but I avoid the Christmas rush by preparing a few little gifts well in advance. Little jars of rhubarb jam are just what the doctor ordered.”
“You realize,” said the visitor, “that you are chopping up the rhubarb leaves as well as the stems. The leaves are poisonous.”
“Dear me, so they are!” laughed Ava-Margaret. “I’ll have to be careful as to who I give these little gifts to.”
Laurie was the grumpiest man on the street; in fact he was possibly the grumpiest man in the town. He grew strawberries in his garden, and one thing was certain: none of the sweetness of strawberries had rubbed off on him.
He would sell strawberries at his gate in little plastic containers. There was an honesty box. Some people thought he under-charged but he said if the price was too low then people were welcome to go to the supermarket and purchase the more expensive, sourer, inferior strawberries. The supermarket manager resented that Laurie had labelled his strawberries as inferior. Laurie was undercutting business.
Further down the road, in fact on a nearby but different street, lived Velda. She would buy quite a few of Laurie’s strawberries apparently to make jam. She didn’t make much of a profit with the jam she said but it was an interest. It fills in a rainy day – as she was wont to say.
Laurie didn’t like Velda making jam with his strawberries. Adding sugar to his carefully grown fruit was a sacrilege. One day he saw Velda coming with a pram (she always brought an old pram to load it up and push the strawberries to her house). He rushed out to his gate and informed Velda that he didn’t like her buying so many of his strawberries. “There are other people in the world that might enjoy some.”
“Oh,” said Velda, “I was just coming to tell you that I heard several of the fruit in your garden have been injected with poison. I wouldn’t touch a single strawberry for the rest of the year if I were you.”
And Velda sauntered off to the supermarket where she triumphantly announced to her husband, the Manager: “Mission accomplished”.