By Rebecca Carlson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative member
Rebecca is a college English professor. She enjoys traveling, writing, and paddle boarding on West Bay. 

The best angle from where to throw the rotting sour cherries and have the most victim impact is to position yourself in one of the trees. Quietly find the best branch, have ammunition in hand (also a great source of sustenance while waiting for victims) aim and FIRE! Each of us knew if the cherry juice got on our shirts or jeans, it was close to impossible to get the stain out. It was so easy to simply destroy someone’s favorite Star Wars or Peter Frampton t-shirt. But you better be able to ninja your way out of the tree to escape retribution and run like blazes, or be ready with lots of cherries.

It was a daily ritual to walk the forest road up to the cherry orchard, the best playground in the world. The orchard is full sun, quiet, and is protected on all sides by a thick forest. There is no noise from Jacobsen Road, just farm noises from our neighbors. At the peak of the orchard, 600 Montmorency cherry trees covered about 35 acres. The old Omena stagecoach road separates our orchard from Donny Hermann’s perfectly manicured cherry trees. He had Queen Anne, black, and sour cherries in his larger orchard. We were a weekend farming family, while he was a full-time family business.

The most magical time of the day in the orchard was nighttime. Although it was a little scary making our way up the forest road, it was worth the trip as you emerged from the dark two-track road into the orchard. The only light came from the moon and stars. It was the best place in the world for stargazing and scaring the heck out of a poor victim. Every night, the orchard trees would be waiting for our crew to arrive and witness the night’s activities: a game of bloody murder or good old-fashioned tag. Over the years, we broke fingers, arms, ankles, and egos, bruised just about every part of the body, destroyed clothing, and I cannot think of a time I miss more.