For three months a gypsy’s life,
finish one crop, move to another
berries – hops – tobacco.
The trick the old hands said, was a tree job
apples or pears – a solid 3 or 4 months,
not a few weeks like the vines and bushes.
The best came last –
an orchard at the tail end of the season.
closing fist-like to the hills.
The sun came late and left early
and when light and shadow colluded
The Deliverance came to mind.
“Generous Mike,” we called the owner
example: serve lukewarm tea and coffee
“ you’ve finished your drink – back to work.”
Blood from a stone? Perhaps not,
but eight hours + 2, 3 or 4 minutes – everyday.
Later I learned of his large mortgage
half a million
when being a millionaire was still a landmark.
Five permanent staff and four seasonal –
an American midwife,
a cardiologist to be,
a Bank of Ireland economist on sabbatical
and a brand-new graduate.
One break time we asked about attractions
We could go to the beachside campground
and see people without clothes,
he often did – circuiting slowly in his car.