The Apple Tree

 

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Somewhere at the back of my mind there was a quote bothering me.   So I popped into Google to find a lead or two.  I came to the realisation that our language and literature, even be it a simple quote, may well be in a state of transition.   For the most part I found quotes from Steve Jobs of Apple computer fame, and other computer geeks who have transported us into another realm of language.    Words don’t mean what they use to mean.   And stories are in danger of becoming the fake news of the day.   My, how the world has changed.   We have evolved into another era.

The closest I came to finding the right words for the quote was by Robert Schuller:

Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God knows how many apples there are in a seed.

I remembered, the quote I couldn’t find, went a little further and spoke of apple trees and apple orchards.

Apple orchard

This analogy of the apple tree speaks to me of exponential potential growth, and it was something I wanted to share with my children.  Not that I have experienced it, only heard of it, but do know that generosity is a key to unlocking prosperity, and freedom from ‘the clutter of life’
Generosity as a principle of life, can unlock doors of wealth, and more so, a generous spirit.

I had recently listened to a debate on TV by a group of young Black people, who having endured the hardship of poverty, were now either educated or had well paid employment, asked the question “should they have to pay Black Tax’ – as they called it.   Black Tax is when children give back to their struggling families, help to ease the poverty and also help the remaining siblings at home.   Some were unreservedly for it, some a little reluctant, and some refused to pay back. The culture of giving creeps into the African-centric adverts on TV too, when you see a son buying his elderly Black mom a stove or a fridge.  And often you hear how the well- to-do grown up children take pride in buying a house for their family.
Of course it depends on the individual, there is no legal law that says it must happen – except the law of the heart.
And when appreciation has been nurtured, and generosity has been learnt, giving happens more easily.

I grew up in a time when saving was the smart thing to do.   There is nothing like having a little something in reserve for a rainy day.  At that time, it was just plain common sense, because eventually your money works for you – and not you for your money !!
When we went through our ‘ financial struggle years’ I resolved to start a small savings account, and made minuscule deposits.
I called it my Apple Tree account.    And for a long time it was partly dormant, and then very slowly began to grow tiny roots.   Whenever I could I would ‘water’ my Apple Tree with a small deposit.   It began to grow and now even has some apples on it – which I pick and enjoy from time to time.

My children, bless their hearts, have out of love, been watering my Apple Tree too, with generous deposits, that have caused my tree to flourish.    I am grateful for the apples that I can pick from its growth, but more, much more, I am delighted with their acts of generosity, that I know will stand them in good stead in their years to come.
May they too plant their own Apple Trees, and continue to cultivate the fruit of generosity, and see the benefits of it, for it says in Luke 36:8

Give,  and it will be given to you,
good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over
will be put into your bosom.
For with the same measure that you use,
it will be measured back to you.   

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Touching Opulence

Breaking paradigms is often a good thing.

I have always had a soft spot for the poor and needy in community, and had in years past been privileged to go into areas where poor people lived and worked and raised their families.  I had always come away humbled and grateful at the same time.
I realised that it would take a mind shift to go from poverty to progress, even prosperity, and that it was a long road.  Governments and policies can change, but having a poverty mind-set will keep communities in poverty.

Over the years I have come to know that there are levels of poverty, and there are levels of wealth.   That is the way of life.  Secretly I have always had an inclination to regard the rich with a bit of disdain.  Why I do not know.  Perhaps it is a wrong perception, perhaps it was unfair judging of those who think they have it all, but more often than not,  have the arrogance to match it.  There is nothing wrong with being wealthy.  But it brings with it a lurking arrogance, that can morph into  greed, and that will stealthily steal from man’s character.   Few can wear wealth well.

But then I suppose, there are degrees of arrogance in all of us, whether rich or poor or somewhere in between.

In recent years I have had the privilege to live among those who seemingly have more than enough wealth.   It is good to live in an area where money can buy and maintain a beautiful environment, – necessarily so for the many wealthy tourists who come to visit, and spend their money in our ‘little village’

Umhlanga Rocks has an interesting history.  The Oyster Box Hotel is one of the oldest, and one of the beautiful hotels where the rich and famous reside when they visit our shores.  The iconic Umhlanga Light House is right on the beach in front of the hotel, which makes it that more special.
In years gone by, the hotel was first a shack, then a tea garden, owned by a brother and sister.   Later,  it became a restaurant.
In 1954 the hotel was built, and has grown into a five-star status hotel.

Beach & lighthouse
It has always been a little dream of mine, to one day, have afternoon tea at the famous Oyster Box Hotel.   Well I can tell you that dreams do come true.
My son Gareth and his friend Kerry came for a visit.   Now Gareth has an inclination to spoil, and Kerry loves cake,  as I do !   He decided to arrange for Kerry and I to have High Tea at  – the Oyster Box !!

Entrance Oyster Box
A sense of old colonial charm.

Near the stairway, in the lobby,  was a stunning floral arrangement.  At first glance it looked like a giant pineapple.  It was made up of bright red, and costly Antirrhinum flowers.

flowers at OB
It was a fascinating experience.   Just walking into the hotel is an assault on the sense of  opulence.    It speaks of bigger, better and brighter.  The lobby had, within it, an alcove surrounded by mirrored glass.  Glass table tops and white furniture gave the impression of a transparent but secret meeting place.

Lobby

In The Palm Court, the palm pots were bigger than usual, the ceilings higher with many fans cooling the air, and the palms grew high and large, to give a sense of tropical fullness.

Palm court palms
The Palm Court, where the High Tea is served.

A man was playing a piano in the Tea room, as we were ushered in and shown our reserved table.   The tea cups were of fine porcelain, with a pretty pink flower design.   A white starched napkin, was unfolded and placed on my lap by a friendly hostess.
You could choose your tea of preference from a box of assorted teas that was presented to you with a gloved hand.   Boiling water arrived in a little glass tea-pot, which you could pour when you were ready to do so.
The cake and savouries, were all arranged on a centre table, that were literally loaded on all sides, with all kinds of everything delightful and delectable.  A feast for the eyes and the  palate.

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A delightful and delectable feast of cakes and treats.

cup cakes at OB

My words could not do justice to the charm of the day,  so I hope these few pictures will give you a better appreciation of the opulence I touched in the Palm Court of the Oyster Box Hotel, one sunny afternoon in Umhlanga Rocks, situated this side of paradise !

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Lovely Kerry, my companion in an encounter with opulence.

An old song I once heard, went something like this  ‘ You gotta have a dream to have a dream come true.’     So dream on, it may come along quicker than you think.
And thank you to Gareth and Kerry for making my dream come true !!

Go and break some paradigms, and extend the horizon of your appreciations.