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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Unsung Hero (12/07/06)

TITLE: Jorge's Trees
By Betty Castleberry


People often say to me, “Jorge, you are a great farmer. You are magnificent.”

I make sure they understand God gets the credit, but in part, I agree with them. God gave me the desire and skills to farm. Ever since I was a little boy, I watched my father and my grandfather working on the farm, and I wanted to do what they did. When I got older, my father let me swing his machete through the vines to clear a path to the trees. The first time he let me do this, I knew I had become a man.

Today, I know a great deal about the trees in my care. From the time they are only a foot high and come out of the nursery, they are mine.

Come, amigo. Let me show you my trees. I have many, in various stages. Over there are the small ones I just mentioned. See how they stretch upward, reaching through the lacy shade of the banana plants and coconut palms to absorb the sunlight? I plant them under the protective umbrella of the bigger trees so their tender young leaves will not burn.

Right here are some trees that are a little older. They will soon produce fruit, hopefully next year.
Let me show you the trees that are fruiting now. I will pick a pod for you. Do you see how it is football shaped? It doesn’t look like you thought it would, does it? The prize is inside. This variety is not common. It is reserved for only the finest connoisseurs. Sniff. Exquisite, isn’t it?

My trees are very special. “Jorge,” my friends say, “You trees are legendary. Their fruits are the stuff of dreams.”

I blush, and just say “Thank you,” but it’s true. Many people in the world would be very sad if my trees died or did not produce fruit.

Yesterday, I walked into the village, and Sylvia ran to me. Her dark eyes were sparkling, and she hugged me. “Jorge, thank you. Pedro and I shared some of your produce last night, and now he has asked me to marry him.”

I was happy for her, although I wish it had been me she had shared with. I’ve always admired her smooth brown skin and lovely smile. No matter. I will give some to Maria. She is lovely, too.

“Jorge,” I often hear, “I am glad you are a farmer. You have made me very happy. I was feeling really down, and then I had some of your produce. Almost instantly, I felt a lot better. Thank you, Jorge.”

The oldest woman in the village claims she has had produce from trees like mine every day for as long as she can remember. The last time I visited her, she took my hand in her thin, blue veined one. “Jorge, you are as good a farmer as your father and grandfather. I don’t know what I would do without your crop. It keeps me young.”

Just the other day, my little cousin Magdalena came to see me. She was jumping up and down like children will do, and slipped. She looked pitiful, laying there, her pretty skirt streaked with sticky brown mud, and a red grape of a bruise forming on her knee. She sat, stunned, for just a second, and then began to cry.

I picked her up and dabbed at her knee with my hankie. “It’s all right.” She kept crying, until I offered her some of my produce.

She patted my cheek. “Uncle Jorge, I love you.” I told her I loved her, too, then gave her some more.

My work is hard, and the hours are long. My trees love the sauna they grow in, but sometimes, I do not. I do love my job, though, and I am good at it.

I hope you do not think I am bragging. I am really no one special. I just make people happy by tending my trees and making sure they are healthy and produce a lot of fruit, which will in turn produce a lot of beans. It is my wish that the fruit I grow reaches those who really relish it. I am just the farmer, the small one. The companies who process my produce have names like Godiva, Hershey’s, and Ghirardelli.

The next time you eat a chocolate bar, or drink a cup of cocoa, think of Jorge for just a moment, will you?

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This article has been read 1089 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Catrina Bradley 12/14/06
I really liked this. You had me wondering until the end what kind of fruit we was producing. Great job!
Lisa Claro12/15/06
I enjoyed this very much. Jorge seemed real, someone eager to be humble and offer all credit to the Lord, but still unable to hide his personal pride. I especially loved the line "No matter. I will give some to Maria. She is lovely, too." It made me laugh; Jorge seems to save his real passion for his farming. The ending was also well done.
CeCe Lane12/15/06
Wow. That was good. I really enjoyed it. I thought it would be a coffee bean but hey! Chocolate works just as well.
Jan Ackerson 12/15/06
What a wonderful voice Jorge has! This was a remarkable read.
Kaylee Blake 12/18/06
Oh, I just loved this entry. Jorge was so believable and really his product is quite important to the world. I assure you. What would we do without farmers like George? Half-way though, I guessed where it was going, but I still loved it. Wonderful voice. Awesome job!
Donna Powers 12/19/06
you had me guessing until the end, but your skill with storytelling kept me reading. I'm glad I did. A very enjoyable story. Thanks for sharing it.
Joanne Sher 12/20/06
So extremely creative - I love Jorge's voice, and the whole atmosphere of this wonderful piece. I didn't figure it out until the very end. I would LOVE to meet Jorge!
Donna Haug12/20/06
I kept telling myself NOT to peek ahead to see what kind of fruit it was. I too thought it might be coffee ... although the description didn't fit. Chocolate. LOL I liked hearing the story from his point of view. "She's lovely too." - made me laugh. I wonder if he ever gets to taste the finished product? Good story.
Pat Guy 12/20/06
Ahhhh... the language of chocolate - don't we know ...! ;)

enjoyed the easy flow of Jorge's voice and his easy manner that came through. Good job!
Jen Davis12/20/06
Funny. I did not know where you were going with this story, but you held my attention throughout. The ending was really cute. An unsung hero indeed. In fact, I enjoyed some of such produce myself tonight in the form of Godiva.
Sara Harricharan 12/21/06
A story with chocolate? What's not to love? :) I liked the way you wrote the story, the vivid descriptions, and the last two sentences, great job!
Thanks for commenting on "Mistaken War Hero"
janet rubin01/11/07
Love it! Great job.
Chely Roach06/24/08
You know, the world is missing more stories about chocolate! Thanks for sharing...I loved it!
Seema Bagai 06/24/08
Clever! You had me wondering what Jorge was growing until the end. When I read it again, I saw the clues you left. Great job.
Pat Guy 06/24/08
I LOVE Jorge! What a guy! And you brought him to life ... I want to meet him and try his produce. Bravo Betty on this one ... Bravo.
Sherry Castelluccio 06/24/08
I love this story! I think I want to adopt Jorge, he's such a sweetheart. I hope he found the love of his life. Might there be a chapter 2- Love blooms at Gadiva? Well done!
Joanne Sher 06/25/08
Such strong, STRONG characterization, Betty. I was SO curious what this "produce" was - good job keeping me in the dark (LOL or milk, depending on your preference). This was wonderful.
Loren T. Lowery06/25/08
Maybe I was reading this too deeply, but I saw a double entendre for the fruit Jorge produced, in that wherever the went, he seemed to bless people with his presence...a fruit of his spirit. Just my take on this delightful (insightful)tale.
Catrina Bradley 06/25/08
I remember this one - there are some articles that have stuck with me and Jorge's is one of them. I kept thinking (again) that it was coffee. Great tale. :)
Cassie Memmer06/25/08
Betty, you had me wondering! At first I thought it was coffee, but chocolate is even better! May God bless all cocoa bean growers! LOL! And may He bless yo too for reminding us of where this luscious stuff comes from. Nice little mystery keeping us guessing.