Ignoring Apples

Describe a time you dealt with a moral problem that you treated differently the second time you faced it.

St. Augustine tells us, “It is not true to say that a thing rightly done once should not be changed.” I know this is true because of my experience with my grandfather’s failing health. My grandfather, Sinclair Adam, is a gentleman farmer in Chester County, Pennsylvania. In the fall, he harvests apples, which he offers to friends and neighbors, even my family in California. Every tree in the orchard bears a different variety of apple – winesaps, Johnathans, macouns, grimes, northern spys, romes, granny smiths – and our box contains a sampling with the lid labeled like a box of chocolates. In the spring he devotes himself to the trees; he prunes, chops, plants, cuts, thins, and sprays meticulously, knowing he will reap the rewards of a gorgeous and plentiful fall harvest. Last year, however, we received our annual box of the apples that he had picked and so meticulously wrapped filled with fruit that was disappointing, smaller, dryer, and more blemished than usual. We overlooked the flaws because we remembered that my grandfather’s heart surgery in the spring must have prevented him from properly caring for the trees he prized so much. Under the circumstances, I chose to ignore the signs of failing health and thanked him as enthusiastically as ever for his gift. To do otherwise would have hurt his pride. I recently visited my grandfather on a trip I made to visit East coast colleges. While the less than perfect apples could be overlooked, another occasion arose that could not be ignored. My grandfather’s declining vision makes him a dangerous driver, although he has not faced that fact yet. This time I chose to take action because, although I would rather let him keep his pride and avoid an awkward confrontation, I value his life too much to risk it.

Leave a Comment