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September 4th 2009

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    The hunter gatherer has paw-paw neck.  Don't know what it is she does down there in the woods, but apparently it is necessary to outwit raccoons, squirrels and other creatures more capable of tree climbing than we are.  

   Her own raccoon is too obsessed with consciousness, edging and watching lavender cuttings die to venture far from the vegetable garden.  As well, he looks into woodland and sees a pestilence of crawling things and tropical agues.  Also there may be argument as to which part of whose land the paw-paw trees grow upon.  So he pretends to be busy while she patents tools for gathering paw-paw.

    Paw-paw neck itself is achieved, I understand, by peering upwards into paw-paw trees for extended periods.  A procedure often complicated by the occasional stumble and the general irritation of biting insects along with what hunter gatherers call "snurk". 

   I first became familiar with a variant of "Snurk" amongst the English.  There was something called "Hay Fever" which the more sensitive school boys suffered from.  I thought the sickness related to a combination of character flaw and slightly warmer temperature.  Later I discovered the word "allergy" as a perfectly real complaint remedied by inexpensive pills.

 

    

    

    "Snurk" however, while belonging to the same family of sickness as the gentle "Hey Fever", is more virulent and aggressive.  It destroys the temperament, robs one of the ability to stand up, and is only a little ameliorated by quantities of red wine.

    I agree paw-paws are worth the ordeal, but in my mind I recall another paw-paw.  Its fruit grew about head height from a plant about ten feet tall.  Okanya's mother never strayed far from it when fruit emerged.  And in all this world I have never known a person who could throw a stone as far or as accurately as she could, so neither Okanya nor I ever got to actually pick a paw-paw.

    The season for gathering paw-paw here in Kentucky has not yet peaked.  So I know there will be encouragement to indulge in paw-paw hunting.  But I remain inclined toward maintaining a tradition of old friendships, and should this be deemed ineligible I am very practiced at sneezing.  

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tim candler

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