Claudia’s father came into her room early one Saturday morning. “Wake up, sweetie,” he said softly, and only after standing by her bed for a few minutes, just watching his daughter sleep peacefully. “I have a surprise for you.”
“Oh daddy, you ruined it.”
“I ruined what?” He looked around the room, puzzled. “What, what did I ruin?”
Claudia sat up and rubbed one eye with one hand and stretched the other arm up towards the ceiling. She’s not used to getting up this early. “You ruined my dream. I was performing a beautiful ballet in front of a big room of people. I was just about to do my final chasse and you woke me up.” Claudia didn’t even seem to be talking to anyone in particular; she was sitting cross-legged on her bed now, staring off into the distance as she recounted her dream, apparently still lost in the whole thing.
A teasing smile came across her father’s face. “I guess we’ll have to wait until tonight to find out if they liked it or not,” he said. He always knew how to make his only daughter smile.
“Oh daddy,” she said.
“Get dressed. I’ll meet you in the car in three minutes,” he said quickly, and left the room.
The drive was long – almost an hour – but they played “I Spy” on the way to their destination, which made the time pass quite quickly.
Claudia’s eyes lit up when the car entered a huge, tree-lined field. Could it be? It was! “An orchard!” she exclaimed, beaming from ear to ear, leaning forward in her seat so she could get a better view.
“An orchard,” Claudia’s father said affirmingly.
Ever since Claudia heard her father tell the story of the giving tree, she has wanted so badly to visit an apple orchard.
They exited the car and stood for a moment at the beginning of a seemingly endless row of apple trees. “I want to tell you a little about apples, Claudia.”
Claudia put her small hand inside her father’s much larger one and looked up at him.
“Take a look at all these trees. On these trees, Claudia, there are not just red apples but green and yellow apples, and different shades of each. And there are not just big apples but small apples, too, and not just sweet apples but tart apples as well, and some even have a combination of both. And there are differing textures, too – some are really crispy while others are softer. Do you know how many different kinds of apples there are, Claudia?”
“Well my favorite is Red Delicious. That’s the kind mommy always gets. She says they’re better than the sour yellow ones.”
“Red Delicious is one kind. There are also Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Breakey, Braeburn, Winesap, Rome Beauty, Norland, McIntosh, Jonathan, Vista Bella, Bolero, Fuji, Gala, Goodland, Honey Crisp, and that’s just the beginning. There are hundreds.”
“Hundreds. And that’s just the variety of apples! Think about bananas and pears, grapes, kiwis, oranges, papayas, grapefruit, pineapples, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, tayberries, cranberries, cherries, mangoes, tangerines, watermelon, muskmelon, cantaloupe, peaches, plums, and nectarines, for starters. And this is just fruit! Think about all the different kinds of vegetables, as well! And these are just foods, and foods are just one of the many things God has made.”
Claudia was just staring at her father, smiling. She likes it when he talks about the physical world. He gets lost in a world of his own, she often tells her mother.
“Why did he do it, daddy? Why did God make all the different kinds of apples and oranges?”
“Y’know, I’m not exactly sure why, baby. But he seems to be pretty enthusiastic about it all. He said ‘It is good!’ and was satisfied with it, so when we taste and touch and smell it all, we can agree with him and say ‘It is good!’ It’s a beautiful thing to live in God’s world and imitate his own enthusiasm for it.” He looked down at Claudia, who was just smiling up at him.
“Let’s go get some apples,” he said.
“Yay!” Claudia responded. And they spent the whole day wandering through the orchard, picking apples.