I didn’t like many fruits as a child but apples I did eat, in fact, probably on a daily basis. Supper was often a glass of milk, a small bar of chocolate, and then an apple – to counter the effect of the chocolate. My dentist had a poster with the slogan ‘An apple a day keeps the dentist away’ so my parents felt they had scientific justification for my evening treats.
But there’s a serpent wrapped cunningly round this Jesse Tree apple. You have to look carefully to see the extent of it. This sweet treat has a bitter aftertaste. It’s like the old joke:
‘What’s worse than biting into an apple and finding a worm?
Biting into an apple and finding half a worm!’
On my way back to the office from visiting a patient’s home, I passed what looked like a kid sitting on top of another one, punching him, egged on apparently by a circle of comrades. I drove on, telling myself there was nothing I could do, that it was probably nothing. But I felt increasingly uncomfortable for deciding to ignore the situation; after all, don’t I try to follow the Man who told a story about two respectable people who kept going and ignored someone in trouble?
So I retraced my journey, found somewhere to park, and went to see if there was a kid in need of help. As it turns out, the main group of kids had dispersed, leaving a couple chasing each other round the field laughing and another comfortably ensconced on top of the bus shelter.
I was glad I didn’t have to confront anyone or deal with an emergency in the middle of an already busy day. I was glad no one was injured. But mostly I was glad to have got rid of that snakey wormlike feeling of doing the wrong thing, pretending it wasn’t my business to check if someone was ok or pass by a neighbour in trouble.