THE ORCHARD

               Crouching behind the tree, I  checked my weapon.  The German
          Luger was newly acquired.  The  soldier from whom I had taken  it
          was now a prisoner.
               Suddenly I  stiffened perfunctorily,  listened, and  dropped
          into the tall grass.  Someone was approaching.  I hitched a weary
          eye around  the bowl  of the  tree and  spied the German  uniform
          through the trees.  Collapsing into the cover of the thick grass,
          I mentally prepared  for the oncoming danger.   Squeezing the gun
          firmly in my  hand and feeling  the cold steel  against my  flesh
          heightened my confidence.  Crickets chirped loudly, the smell  of
          grass was pungent,  and mosquitoes hummed in  my ears.     "There
          too  noisy,"  I thought,  "they'll  give  my  position away.    A
          grasshopper sprang, landing on my head.   I remained frozen.  The
          thud of heavy boots grew closer.  I was five feet from the  path.
          The grass was so  tall, I was  sure I could not  be seen even  if
          someone stood almost directly over  me. I was covered with brush;
          branches  of  leafy  growth  tied   to  my  body  for  additional
               He was  close; very close,  now.  My heart  stopped beating,
          blood ceased, adrenalin  pumped, and I  held my breath.   My ears
          filtered out all external sound; locking on the thumping of those
          German boots.  The shadowy figured  passed before me like a  pale
          ghost in a strange dream.  I  tensed. I counted his steps as they
          moved away.   One, two, three.   I  rose stealthily and  silently
          closed the  gap between us.   I was  on him  in a second;  my gun
          grinding into  his back  and my arm  encircling his  neck like  a
          cowboy's lariat.    He stumbled,  dropping his  riffle, The  tall
          grass instantly swallowing it away.  We both stood motionless for
          seconds; frozen  in time,  are breathing  rasping  loudly in  the
          stillness of the orchard.  "He's an officer," I thought.  "That's
          hard to believe.  Well, all in a days work."  Spinning him about,
          I  marched him down  the path the  way he had  come.  Pushing him
          away roughly, I commanded him to raise his hands.  He obeyed.
               As he walked several steps ahead,  I held the Luger up again
          for  inspection.   The  lose  end of  the caps  trailed  out from
          beneath the  hammer.  I tore off the  excess and snapped open the
          chamber.  I  had plenty of caps  left, I decided, the  roll being
          full.  It was fun playing war in the orchard.  "You guys lost," I
          boasted  to my prisoner ahead.  "Let's  divide up sides again and
          see who wins the next game."
               "Ok," he  agreed lowering his  hands, "but this time  we get
          the fort."
               The  orchard behind my house was a perfect play ground.  The
          two acres  or so of  land was never  tended, thus the  grass grew
          uncontrollably and was  always nearly waist deep.   Grasshoppers,
          crickets, mosquitoes,  flies, bumblebees,  rabbits, birds,  ants,
          snakes, squirrels,  worms, spiders, centipedes,  gnats, chiggers,
          lady  bugs, beatles, butterflies, lightning bugs, fleas, and just
          about anything else one could think of lived in the orchard.
               The trees  were friends.   Tree houses  were built  in them.
          Forts  constructed under them.  Branches served as chinning bars.
          Hours  were spent  just climbing  and  swinging from  one to  the
          other.   Of course, there  were always the  apples.  We  ate them
          green, red, or  yellow.  We hunted  the largest and  ripest ones.
          We even made use  of the rotten ones fallen from  the branches in
          war games.  [Hand grenades].  
               Paths had  been carved  from our  frequent trips  to various
          parts  of the  orchard.   Bikes  were sometimes  ridden down  the
          trails where our camps were constructed.  Sometimes cats and dogs
          of the neighborhood came  to chase us through the maze of trails.
          Hide-and-go-seek was always  a favorite and sometimes  hours were
          spent  trying to  catch rabbits  which always  somehow seemed  to
          evade capture.  
               Garden  snakes  were plentiful  and  we caught  them  by the
          dozens,  turning most  lose, while  making pets  of others.   One
          summer we  had a  contest to  see who  in the  neighborhood could
          catch the most snakes.  I captured over one hundred. Did we catch
          the same one's?  Possibly.   The rule was, however, that a  snake
          caught  had to be  released in the  opposite side of  the orchard
          where snake hunting was disallowed.
               There were hills  in the orchard, too,  which provided hours
          of "King  On The Hill."   Some of the  hills were perched  on the
          south side of the orchard  over looking black top which had  been
          laid.   Christmas  trees were sold  on the  paved lot  during the
          winter and sometimes  house trailers and boats  during the summer
          but mostly  the lot  remained empty.   The paved area  provided a
          perfect  location  for  riding  bikes,  roller skating,  shooting
          marbles,  bouncing  balls,  racing   wind-up  cars,  and  playing
          chicken.  Often we made up games such as riding our bikes as fast
          as  possible,   jumping the  pavement to  plunge down  the brushy
          hillside, only  to be plucked from  our seats by  the thick under
          growth.  Other times we just rode  the pavement as though it were
          the Indy 500.
               Somehow the thick clouds of mosquitoes, the biting chiggers,
          and  the  grouchy wasps  never  seemed to  be  a  problem in  the
          orchard.   We  learned to  live together.   Even the  bier patch,
          where most of the rabbits  retreated during hunts, we left alone.
          They just seemed to belong in the orchard as  did we.  We enjoyed
          the walnuts, raspberries,  mulberries, and apples which  all grew
          prolifically in and along the orchard boundaries.
               Summer nights  provided  extra excitement  in  the  orchard.
          Flashlights   furnished    illumination   for    hide-and-go-seek
          adventures.  The  eerie shadows of the trees  heightened fear and
          the flashing of the lightning bugs created tiny atomic explosions
          in  the darkness.   the night time  chirping of  the crickets was
          nearly  deafening.  Clouds  of hungry mosquitoes  floated densely
          about  the trees.    Branches  rustled  ominously  when  stealthy
          squirrels jumped to nearby branches.
               My favorite  time in the  orchard was the blossoming  of the
          trees.  The  sudden burst of  the red and  white flowers as  they
          popped from  the branches  looked like a  strange snow  storm had
          invaded the orchard at the wrong time of year.  The pastel pinks,
          reds,  and whites fluttered  like delicate butterflies  among the
          rustic  branches.   The  aromatic fragrance  of  their scent  was
          intoxicating;  hovering among  the  trees like  oriental incense.
          The silky  peddles hung  like earrings,  their scent as  feminine
          perfume, as  though a wedding  had been recently announced.   The
          birds seemed  happier to  me during that  time and  the squirrels
          less apt to fight  among themselves over their cash of  nuts.  It
          revealed newness  and freshness and  it prophesied of  the coming
          crop of apples which every  kid in the neighborhood always looked
          forward to with great anticipation.
               The strangest experience I can  recall in the orchard had to
          do with birds.   Thousands of starlings took over the orchard one
          season as  they apparently migrated.   I am not  suggesting there
          were  just  a  few  but  literally thousands.    Every  tree  was
          blackened  by the  birds as they  perched on  the branches.   The
          chirping of the birds was  nearly unbearable.  It was impossible,
          during the  few weeks the  birds inhabited the orchard,  to enter
          the area without  being soaked with bird droppings.   It was even
          more strange when they  all took flight.  The entire  orchard was
          nearly bear.   It looked as though  winter had set in.   Branches
          were baron  of leaves,  the trunks of  trees and  the ground  all
          looked  as though  someone had  white washed  with a  giant paint
               The winters  were just  as productive in  the orchard.   The
          hills  became ski  slopes,  the  trails  toboggan runs,  and  the
          pavement skating rinks.   "King On The  Hill" was just as  fun in
          the winter and there were no grass stains for moms to remove from
          clothing. Beginning from  the tree line, tiny balls  of snow were
          packed  and rolled  along the  grown  until the  tall hills  were
          reached.   Then  pushing them  from  the hill  top, they  rolled,
          enlarging  as they  did so,  to  the flat  snow covered  pavement
          below.   Snow  men, snow  forts,  or snow  houses  could then  be
          constructed.   Sleds,  pieces  of  cardboard,  enter  tubes,  and
          aluminum  saucers all  were part  of the  winter hardware  in the
               This  chapter would easily  be considered a  nonessential by
          many, but I felt  it important.  The orchard still  holds a place
          in my thoughts  all these years later.  It's a get-a-way, it's my
          hiding  place.   Often my  thoughts  return to  that orchard  and
          although it was plowed under long ago  to make room for a grocery
          store, it lives vividly in my mind.  I often walk those paths and
          see the  tree forts again.   I can hear  the squirrels chattering
          and the  birds  arguing over  tree  ownership.   I  see a  rabbit
          occasionally dark  from under cover and pop into the heart of the
          thick sticker patch  in the  orchard's center.   I can taste  the
          apples again.   I ride my bike  again and feel the  hard pavement
          beneath my spinning wheels.   Although I am completely blind now,
          I can see  clearly every square inch  of the orchard as  though I
          were actually there.
          I  offer this  description  of  the orchard  to  simply show  how
          pleasant how easy-going, how calm was my childhood.   My life was
          an  average middle  income American  boys  life.   I rode  bikes,
          fished, roller skated, climbed trees, ate pop cycles, rode bikes,
          glued model cars, shot  bee-bee guns, rode bikes,  caught snakes,
          swam, collected ants,  flew kites, climbed telephone  poles, rode
          bikes,  built forts, and  hated girls just like  any other boy of
          ten.  The orchard was part of my Iowa heritage.   I was fortunate
          to  have such a place of refuge as  a child living in town.  Many
          today  are  unable  to  retreat  to  such  a  heritage  in  their
          adulthood.  I thank God for such a place of peace now.
          This chapter is  a suggestion.  Is there an orchard in your life?
          A place where things grow, things live, where birds sing, flowers
          grow, and games are played?   Is there a place of peace,  a place
          of rest,  a place of peaceful  coexistence?  Can  you walk there?
          Are you free?  If you are not born again, receive Christ  as Lord
          and Saviour now by  confessing Him as Lord of your life.  "If you
          confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and  believe in your heart
          that God  raised Him from the dead, you  will be saved."  (Romans
          10:9).   If  you  are  already born  again,  fellowship with  God
          through prayer.  Ask Him for such  a place in your life.  As  you
          learn  to worship  God, discover  the  peace and  joy it  brings.
          Learn  to rest  in God  in spite  of current  circumstances, past
          failures, present fears.   Let Christ be your life.  Feast on the
          fruit of eternal  presence with God the Creator.   Make neighbors
          of God's people  and share perpetual fellowship with  them.  Know
          God, "And the  peace of God, which  transcends all understanding,
          shall  keep  your   hearts  and  minds  through   Christ  Jesus."
          (Philippians 4:7).

                            End Of Chapter 2

                             LIQUID PURPLE


                              PHIL SCOVELL

                          Copyright 1991-2004

                            By Phil Scovell

                          All Rights Reserved

          Reproduction of the book  entitled "Liquid Purple" is granted  by
          the copyright holder, Phil Scovell,  if such reproduction is done
          in the  spirit in which it  was given.  It may  not be reproduced
          and sold  for financial gain  without written  permission of  the
          copyright  holder: Phil  Scovell.    Electronic  formats  may  be
          distributed freely  but this  copyright notice  must remain  with
          each  copy and  the  text cannot  be  altered in  any  way.   For
          convenience, this copyright notification may be placed at the end
          of the document  if reproduced electronically.   If chapters  and
          sections  of the  book entitled  "Liquid Purple" is  separated in
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          distribution,  this copyright notice must appear somewhere within
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          Phil Scovell
          840 South Sheridan Boulevard
          Denver, Colorado  80226-8017
          Web:  WWW.RedWhiteAndBlue.ORG
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