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Peach Fuzz Lishma (for its own sake):(“Peaching, Not Preaching”)

Who picks peaches in August? Certainly not people like me, a rabbi who always anticipated the Jewish High Holidays by beginning to think about writing sermons as early as May. And by August – don’t ask!

But this year is different – now I’m semi-retired (and my husband retired 6 months earlier) and we are out on a weekday (!) in August picking peaches at Larriland Orchard in the countryside not far (but very far psychologically!) from D.C. Perfect sunny day, not humid, breathable air unlike much of the rest of the summer.

The two young women who are handing out the baskets for peach retrieval explain how to select the best peaches. No green on the flesh, a little hard (they’ll ripen in 3-5 days), these rows over here, not the ones farther back. For a born-and-bred city girl like myself, these directions are invaluable. And next to apples (for which I’ll return in a month), peaches are the easiest fruit to pick. The basket fills quickly, long before I’m tired or bored.

As we return to the vending stand to pay for our peaches, we find the two young women (interns? members of the family?) discussing the problem of their sensitivity to peach fuzz, how their constant exposure causes a kind of allergic reaction. Who knew?

Returning to the car, I begin contemplating this phenomenon, heretofore unbeknownst to me. Peach fuzz… the dark side of nature… environmental hazards?.. and suddenly, I realize what I’m doing. I’m thinking “sermon”; how can I possibly use this anecdote in a sermon?