Unexpected kindness makes summer sweeter

Posted by Lucy Luginbill on August 1, 2013 

Summer is sweet — and even sweeter when Washington cherries ripen. Juicy, fresh and melt-in-your mouth flavor are all part of delicious summertime memories.

But one Kennewick family found themselves in the pits when the fresh fruit wasn’t available at a local orchard because of prior inclement weather.

“When I was a kid we used to pick cherries with my mom, so I like to take my kids to pick, too — for the experience,” Phil Dron says as he remembers plucking Rainiers and Bings from the tree as a kid. “But at the time we were visiting an orchard in early June, there had been a late freeze, so no cherries.”

A momentary bite of disappointment soured their day, but being longtime Washington residents, Phil and wife Jonni knew there’d be another crop. Off they went on vacation with thoughts of red cherries upon their return.

Then in late June on a Sunday afternoon the Southridge high school teacher and his young family swung by the Cherry Chalet and Sauer Orchard, a second-generation farm with 20 acres of fruit trees.

“Hey, I’m here for your Rainier cherries,” Phil recalls announcing to orchardist Steve Sauer who had just returned from a bicycle ride in the heat of the day.

Within moments, bags of the delicious fruit were in their hands. But it wasn’t until the family engaged in “small talk” that something big came up. The last of the Rainier cherries just sold to Phil had originally been saved from the harvest for Steve and his family to enjoy.

“When Steve closed the garage door as we were leaving there was a ”sold out” sign,” Phil comments thoughtfully about the words that had been hidden from view. “Here it was their Sunday afternoon—free time—and yet they kindly sold us their cherries.

Their very last cherries.

Because of this unexpected kindness, Phil wrote a “Thankful Thursday” letter about Steve Sauer in the Tri-City Herald.

“I felt blessed,” Phil recalls, “and I wanted to let others know he gave up his last ones. He’s a really nice guy and not just in it for himself.”

A refreshing reminder of the Golden Rule.

And just like summertime cherries, we can never get our fill of sweet acts of kindness.

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