A summer that wasn’t too bad

It’s been a while since I last remembered a dream so vividly. Although, I did wake up with a terrible headache. 

In the dream, I go to visit my Uncle (none of my real Uncles); he lived in a small secluded cabin on the outskirts of a quaint coastal town. You could tell he lived in the country since the next town was miles away. Most of the locals were either farmers or fishermen. 

Running alongside my Uncle’s property is a bountiful apple orchard. The deep crimson apples looked too good to be true; imaging biting into one, the sweetness, was enough to make my mouth water. A faint rustling in the trees disturbed my thoughts; it was then I noticed three boys about my age picking apples from the lower branches hanging over the fence bordering the orchard. They were crafty, since they weren’t trespassing they couldn’t be accused of stealing. Observing how carefully they picked the apples, it was obvious they had done this before. 

After telling my uncle what I saw, he just shrugged and said it didn’t matter because he still had plenty. His placid attitude really bothered me! For all we know, they could be selling the apples and profiting from Uncle’s hard work. Everyday, Uncle spent most of his time tending to the crops, maintaining the land or resting by the young river flowing a short distance behind his house. He was a quiet man and we barely spoke with each other during the weeks I stayed there. It was the longest and most uneventful summer I had experienced in my young life. Some days, the silence of the countryside almost drove me mad. 

Uncle was a bit of a loner; no one ever popped over and he rarely strayed far from the farm or house. He definitely wasn’t a people person; he found it difficult to communicate with others. Despite living by himself for so long, it was surprising how much he forgot to care for himself. Unable to ignore what was happening in front of me, I spent my summer break in the middle of nowhere, assisting my uncle as best I could. I wasn’t even being paid! The scorching heat almost killed me so to make things easier on myself, I established a daily routine, leaving plenty of time for fun and rest. 

I saw the three boys around a lot, after all the village was minuscule. They were brothers and the only kids their age living in the area. Although I had a bad impression of them in the beginning, surprisingly I started hanging out with them a lot. Every evening, after finishing my chores I wander around with the brothers. Instead of sneakily picking apples, they started helping with harvesting the apples in the orchard. Caring for the orchard and farm was no easy task, it was back-breaking work. Still, Uncle seemed to enjoy tending to the fields and trees. So much so, he would work from sunrise to sunset and fall asleep on the sofa straight after dinner; too exhausted to make it up the stairs to his bed. 

Sadly, age was catching up with Uncle; he was no longer capable of working as efficiently as he did when he was young. Even though he desperately needed help, he stubbornly believed he could keep working. To make matters worse, with his poor communication skills he wasn’t confident enough to hire workers; even the three brothers who were already helping tend to the orchard. If he kept working at the same pace it wouldn’t be long before he collapsed. 

Unable to ignore the strain Uncle was putting himself through, I decided to stay a while longer and make sure Uncle got help with the farm. If I went home, I would be haunted with worry; waiting for the call that Uncle was in the hospital or worse. 

It’s funny how things work out! In the beginning, I was utterly disappointed to be spending my summer break in the middle of nowhere with an uncle I hadn’t seen since I was a toddler. It only took a few weeks for me to warm up to the place; after all the beach was close by.

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