A Gater is a small green utility vehicle. It has a driver’s seat, a passenger seat, and small dump-truck bed behind the seats. “Necessary for a farm,” said the previous owner, and he left it for us.
I had wanted a Gater since touring 60 acres in one. An Oregon Real Estate Agent and I sat in a Gater's dump bed leaning against a hay bale while husband dear sat beside the property's owner, the driver. The agent said she was scared out of her wits when the driver took off like a bat out of you know where, but I thought it was almost as much fun as a Disneyland ride.
I will be careful with you though, don’t worry. I won’t try to brush you off, as my husband appears to do as he careens through the pineapple fields while I am dodging volunteer trees that have sprung up between the pineapple rows.
Our ride today in the Gater will be easier than walking to the area I want to show you, for we would likely be huffing and puffing in this sultry heat.
You’re willing? Okay. Let’s go.
The sun isn't up yet as we climb into our seats, but birds are trying to pull it from its slumber. We will not see the sunrise, for the trees stand in the way of it, but the sun gradually brightens the sky, and enlivens the expanse of emerald green around the house as though the morning goddess, sleepy eyed, is turning up her rheostat.
We putt through the row of eucalyptus trees that separate the house area from the orchard. We pass a MACK dump truck the size of a small house that is tied to the ground with vines the way Gulliver was tied by the Lilliputians.
I push in the throttle, and the Gater gallops up a gentle incline—or slithers, whatever Gater’s do. We bump past the pineapple field, and past the few scruffy orange and lemon trees that while small in size, produce delicious fruit.
To our left are macadamia nut trees. Ahead is the best lime tree in the world. Its limes are the size of lemons, and so fragrant they can call me from bed when daughter dear is making French toast dusted with powdered sugar, slaughtered with butter, and loaded with fresh lime juice.
A Star Fruit tree grows beside the lime tree, and while the fruit of the enormous beautiful Star Fruit tree that grows close to the house tastes horrible, this tree’s fruit is delicious. I don’t know why.
There are more eucalyptus trees along the side fence separating this property from the ten acres next to us. Ahead and to the right is jungle.
Along the back fence grows two exquisite plants, so hidden in the brush I didn’t know they existed until the day I found them flowering by the fence, shining like beacons. One is a Macaw plant, its flower a brilliant red, that looks as though folded by an origami specialist. Next to it grows a hanging Lobster Claw. Both have waxy petals and together they look like bird’s beaks and lobster claws, as their names describe.
I pull back the throttle, and we roll to a silent stop. I wanted to show you the largest most beautiful tree in the area. It is the reason I brought you here.
It is a Signature tree.
We hop out of the vehicle and walk up to the tree. It is evergreen with leaves thick as a succulent’s. The amazing thing about this tree is that if you scratch a message in a leaf that leaf and message will last for years. Looking up into the immense green foliage, we begin our search. I know the vicinity, and there we find them—notes from the two little girls who lived on this land before us, little notes, sad notes, notes that said, “Goodbye Farm.”
A few days ago my family wrote their names on the leaves, and now you and I could sign our names as well, and for a while far away in the vast Pacific on a tropical island we would be made illustrious for a time.