A Taste of Their Own Medicine – Friday Fictioneers

(March 5,  1911)

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“They can eat all the acorns and berries they want in their land of plenty,” Ned said, breathing in the fresh citrus of an orange. “Ancient burial ground, please. If those Indians want it to rain so bad, so be it.”

“Do we really need the Orange Show to happen on this corner? We could prop up tents anywhere.” Mary sighed.

Ned kissed the orange. “Better than gold.”

The promised curse of rain fell in icy, heavy drops on the Orange Show fairgrounds that year, and every year since. While there is still rain, there are no more oranges.

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Genre: Historical Fiction (100 words)

Photo copyright: Janet Webb

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I was inspired by Rochelle’s story this week, and thought I would try my hand at historical fiction. It’s harder than it looks. I got to hand it to Rochelle!

After reading her story, I thought about the urban legend behind the “Orange Show, which started in San Bernardino in March of 1911.  The urban legend is that the Serrano tribe of Native Americans (I believe it’s the Serrano tribe) put a curse on the Orange Show because it was held on their ancient burial ground, and swore that it would rain each year during its run. History shows that in this first year, it rained every day.

I remember while growing up in the area that the Orange Show was a huge deal, and indeed, it rained every opening day. That’s what I remember. The organizers tried moving the time of the event a few times, and it didn’t matter. It could be sunny skies with no rain in the forecast, and opening day: Rain! It always rained, always. I’ve always believed that the curse was true.

Nowadays, people want the Orange Show every weekend since we need the rain so bad in California, and the rain is more of a blessing than a curse. Still, there are no longer many orange groves, if any, left in the Inland Empire in California. They have been replaced by track homes, development, and dust. What comes around goes around. That I definitely believe in.

Thanks for reading my explanation.

Please visit this link for more stories from the talented Fictioneers. Many thanks to Janet for the photo and to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for leading this group.

A Brief History of Orange Show
History of San Bernardino

 

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39 thoughts on “A Taste of Their Own Medicine – Friday Fictioneers

    1. Thanks, David. I’ve always thought it was pretty fascinating. It’s hard to dispute. In the four or five years that they suspended the show (during WWII), it didn’t rain during the usual period that they held the show. Those years were dry!

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  1. Amy, I appreciate the back story so now I understand your flash. Later this month, I’m going to visit my siblings in your drought-stricken state. I wish I could show up with my own water supply from the Big Apple (it’s raining again out here).

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    1. V, perhaps you should bring a suitcase of water. You know, for showers and the like! Just kidding. Although, if we lived that way, it would improve things dramatically. I think we get a little rain and people think our drought is over. Far from it! We had a couple of days, and it was nice and strange. I hope you have a great time out here! Are you going to the Bay?

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  2. Don’t mess with other cultures’ ancient burial sites is the motto here! Great story and I enjoyed your explanatory notes.
    It’s a shame there aren’t (m)any orange groves left in California. I didn’t know that. Are there at least still raisins from California or are all the grape vines gone as well?

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    1. Great! Thank you, Alistair. It’s funny how these stories from childhood make their way into FF. I’ve always thought this “curse” was pretty fascinating. I should specify that there are not many groves in Southern California, in that particular region called the Inland Empire. Growing up, I remember being able to smell the oranges and driving by them on the freeway. They’re all gone. There may be groves in the San Joaquin valley where all the big agriculture is. Probably. Or, maybe we import all our oranges from Mexico. I’m not really sure. We still have lots and lots of wineries! So, grape vines, and I’m sure some raisins, too.

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  3. Dear Amy,

    For someone who doesn’t normally do historical fiction, I think your effort this week paid off. Your story works and you now have a deeper appreciation of how challenging it can be to pack all you need into the tiny suitcase containing a hundred words. Well done.

    Aloha,

    Doug

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    1. Dear Doug,
      Thank you. The suitcase is tiny, isn’t it? It seems a bit tinier with historical fiction. Perhaps it’s because you know the ending, something I always struggle with in my other stories. I wish I could have made more historical references to actual people. Maybe with more time and digging! I saw some newspaper articles, but didn’t have access. Thanks for the kind words.

      Aloha,
      Amy

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  4. Dear Amy,

    I’m humbled by your praise and entertained by your story. I feel like I’ve learned something and that’s always a good thing. I think now the curse has come in the form of drought.

    Good job!

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

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    1. Dear Miss Rochelle,
      Thank you! California does feel cursed in some way. The thing I came upon in writing this what that, yes, the oranges are gone! At least from that specific area. You used to be able to just smell the oranges. Not anymore. I wished I could have worked in Ms. Tibbets, a woman who sold the first orange trees. If I took another shot at this, I would write it about her. It’s a great challenge. Thanks for the inspiration.

      Shalom,
      Amy

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Bjorn. Who knows? Maybe California wouldn’t have drought. Ha. Probably not. There are 36 million people (approx.) who live here, and in addition to that, we are big agricultural state. Sometimes, it doesn’t make any sense. I just saw in the news that the drought we have now is the worst in 1200 years, due to the rise in temperature.

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  5. The story and the explanation are well worth the read. Here, in Canada, we pay a fairy hefty fee to indulge in the orange delights of this citrus treat. Well, for any citrus treats. When I was a child the only time we saw an orange was at Christmas when we would each find one in our stocking. We savoured every section of it greedily. Now they are easier come by but, as I said, for a price. Your story of the curse will make me appreciate them like I was a kid again.

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    1. Michelle, we got oranges in our stockings, too! I did a post once about the oranges. There is a story behind it. But, in many Asian regions, I know oranges are like dessert. I guess it was true for Canada, too. Someday, it may be true for all of us. I hope not. I love oranges! Funny, I didn’t think about the tie in to oranges at Christmas with this story. Who knew it was kind of a holiday story. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for so much, Dawn! That’s a very nice compliment. It’s fun to be pulled into something rich in history. There’s so much to learn and now a lot of it is at our fingertips! I still have much to learn from the master. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Amy, Superb story and entertaining! I love the explanation too. Wonderful and I always got an orange in my stocking too so my children got one each year and now there’s are too. Funny how that works. The boys (our sons) all say they like the thought of the orange in the stocking each year along with some nuts, peppermints too. Cute story! Nan 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much, Nan.Your comments make my day. I got oranges, too, at Christmas. I’m afraid I didn’t appreciate them as much as I should have. I always searched for the chocolate. Someday, we may not have these oranges! I think the oranges are a great tradition. I did a post once about the history of the oranges at Christmas. I’ll find it for you if you’re interested.

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    1. Thanks, Mark. I never know when a little blurb from my childhood will appear in my Friday Fiction! I learned a bit more about the history of the region. There’s a lot to sift through and it’s all fascinating. It serves us right. People were a little too greedy, and now we pay the price.

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    1. It was hard to know if it stood on its own, so thanks for that. I couldn’t resist filling in on the history since it was something I actually experienced. A unique cryptic way. I’ll take it. I like the sound of that, Perry. Thanks so much.

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  7. Funny how what goes around does come around. Good story, Amy. It is hard but challenging to write a 100 word story. It helps me pare away unnecessary words and phrases.

    Lily

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  8. That’s a great story! I love how obstinate Ned sounds and the personalities of both really come through in those few lines. It’s sad whenever trees or farms are plowed under in favor of track homes. It always makes me think of that quote by Steinbeck, “I wonder why progress looks so much like destruction.”

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