This is kind of a landmark. Thanks, pals.
The Apricot Tree
Once upon a time there was a farmer who wanted to try out a fruit tree he had never had before. In his day he had planted apple trees, orange trees, and walnut trees, but never an apricot tree.
So one day the farmer talked it over with his family. While not all of them were wild about apricots, they agreed that the idea of a new kind of tree was exciting.
So the farmer got himself a seedling and planted an apricot tree.
He watched it grow, but it didn’t grow any faster than any other fruit tree. This frustrated him. He thought, “This tree is special, it is my first apricot tree. It is my ONLY apricot tree. I want it to bear fruit, sweet juicy fruit!”
So the tree grew, but it didn’t grow any faster than any other tree. Its fruit would be special, but it would not be any more plentiful than the fruit from any other kind of tree. And it wasn’t there yet.
Seemingly forgetting how long his other trees had taken to reach a mature height and bear fruit, the farmer began to get angry with his apricot tree. During times of drought, he gave it less water than he gave his other trees. In those times, the tree grew even more slowly than before. This angered the farmer.
When rains came, and the tree started growing again, it still couldn’t yet bear fruit. The farmer raged at it, plucked off its leaves, and snipped off live twigs from its branches in rage and frustration.
But while a tree bears no grudges, nor does it grant favors. A tree prospers if cared for, and grows as best it can if not. It bears fruit when nature says it can and should, not when a farmer says it can and should—even the farmer who planted it.
Before the apricot tree could bear any fruit at all, the farmer was so disgusted with it that he ignored the growth it had enjoyed, and disregarded the flowers it produced with promise of bearing fruit in due time. One day in a fit of rage and frustration he uprooted it, broke the wood into green twigs, chopped what he couldn’t tear with his bare hands, and left the wood to dry so it could be burned for kindling.
When the kindling had been burned the farmer said that was all apricot trees were good for, and he would never plant another one.
He was one farmer. Embittered by his experience, he never again tried to grow an apricot on his farm.
Other farmers took better care of their apricot trees, remembering that they could not rush nature to please their whims.
And the world has not run out of apricots.
(Originally posted at Democratic Underground by poster DFW. Tweaked slightly for context.)
1967. Season three, episode seven, “Don’t Count Your Tomatoes Before They’re Picked.”
Oliver: “Nobody in their right mind would eat hot water soup.”
(Eb enters, looks at table excitedly.)
Eb: “Oh boy! Hot water soup!”
When I go to the bakery to pick up a birthday cake I don’t think to myself: “I’m so happy the supermarket endorses my birthday party.”
When I go to the bottle shop to pick up wine for dinner I don’t think to myself: “Thank goodness the bottle shop endorses my menu selections.”
If a couple asks a bakery to make a wedding cake, they are not asking or expecting the bakery to endorse their wedding. They’re asking the bakery to BAKE THE DAMN CAKE. That’s all. It’s arrogant for the bakery to think that doing their job constitutes endorsing or approving the marriage.
Bake the cake. DO YOUR DAMN JOB.
That is all.
Sometime this evening. Just twenty-three days ago it hit 48,000.
* snif *
The Breakfast Blend with Scott McKinney is the morning show for people who have families, make decisions for households, work hard, pay bills, stay informed, and are part of their community. People who take care of responsibilities, enjoy creative music and good conversation – and still know how to have fun.
The Breakfast Blend is smart and funny, without shoving jokes and outrageousness in your ears for five solid hours. No off-color language. No prank phone calls. And no whoopee cushions.
The Breakfast Blend isn’t just the regular grind. It’s the morning show for grownups.
I wrote this in 1999 for the KBEK Radio webpage, and just now tumbled across it again. I think it’s held up well.
“Radio used to be less segmented than it is today. When I was a teen my favorite radio station would play a song by the Beach Boys, followed by a song by James Brown, followed by Lorne Greene, followed by the Beatles.” – Dwight Twilley, interviewed in Blank Pages Magazine, spring 1999
“A surprise, you knew, was coming; you just weren’t sure when. Then, there it was —your favorite song. Up went the volume, and often up went your voice — this song you were going to pay attention to, to really feel. The pleasure of radio lay in anticipation: in knowing you would hear what you wanted, but having that pleasure seem spontaneous and unexpected.” – Susan J. Douglas, from her book Listening In: Radio and the American Imagination
“They just described KBEK!” – Me
A surprise on the radio can make my whole day. Here’s what I mean: I was driving along awhile back, boppin’ along with the radio as usual. Suddenly the announcer played a blast from the past, a song that totally knocked me out when it came out years ago, but oddly I hadn’t even thought about for ages.
Wow! What a treat! That song put a smile on my face for the rest of the morning, mainly because it was unexpected. (The song, by the way, was “So Far Away” by Dire Straits.)
Consider how unique that whole experience is compared to other types of entertainment. This wouldn’t have happened, for instance, if I had just popped a CD into the player. That song was on that morning because the announcer picked it, and his likes (and dislikes) are why I tuned in. On the other hand: when I turn on the TV, play a CD, go to a movie, or watch a DVD, I’ve pre-selected exactly what I’ll see or hear — no surprises there.
Part of what I love about radio is its immediacy and its capacity for surprise. There I was, in the right place at the right time – and as a result my day started a whole lot nicer. And if I like a certain station and announcer, I generally can count on enjoying what I hear even – or sometimes especially – if I wasn’t expecting it.
Hearing a good tune for the first time can literally make me happy for days. And if I like an announcer’s tastes, usually I’ll also like the “surprises” he or she comes up with: whether it’s a brand-new song, an oldie I may have overlooked, or that favorite I’d forgotten for the past fifteen years. What’s more: some of the best new songs can bring back memories of songs past, and sound almost like old favorites right from the beginning.
The good mood I was in that morning is what we try to achieve on KBEK: provide you with that “surprise” experience of rediscovering a forgotten favorite, and introduce you to a new favorite you didn’t know you had yet! We hope we’re accomplishing that — let us know.