Through the night they fall from high oak trees, clang onto our roof, then bounce onto one of the decks, or onto the driveway that leads to the house. In the morning Jerry will sweep them up . . .again. The winds have increased, the temperature has dropped. Autumn, beautiful autumn, has arrived. The scent of ripening pears from our tree in the back floats through the air. The pears are perfection. Sometimes we eat one out of hand, or again on a small plate beside a slice of cheddar or a scoop of goat cheese.
Strewed on the ground were the pears. An abundance of the fruit lay in veritable drifts over the crusty lawn of our neighbors who lived across the street and down a few houses from our place. Despite the scores of pears that had fallen and littered the yard, the tree still brimmed with firm green-colored pears, with a few yellow and rust-colored ones mixed in–I think. That place was swamped with pears.
There were three of us on the day of the Pears in Springfield–my stunningly beautiful sister, Donna, two years younger than I and my adorable brother, Junior. (Donna and I had straight, stringy hair. Junior’s glorious head was covered with ringlets and my mom was so proud of them that she didn’t cut his hair for a very long time. In our boxes of family pictures, we have images of him with shoulder-length curls. Finally, when everyone was saying what a beautiful little girl he was, my dad marched him off to the barber–or my parents cut the curls off themselves. I can’t remember which.) I was the big sister–five years older than Junior.
We had no pear trees in our yard, and I don’t recall going to the neighbor’s yard and selecting a perfect one for afternoon snack, but evidently we did for I have a sharp memory of Daddy coming home as we three sat on the front stoop chewing on the pears.
” Where’d you get the pears?”
“Oh, we got them over at ___________________. “(can’t remember their names.) We didn’t deny the source of our fruit, and I don’t recall at all thinking we had done wrong. There were probably bushels of pears laying on the ground, and I think we saw it as merely taking advantage of God’s abundance.
My dad was terribly upset, sternly rebuked us for stealing and ordered us to go to the neighbor’s house, knock on the door and confess our evil deeds. Suddenly I lost my fruit appetite and threw down the remainder of the pear. I also had no appetite for confessing to a local robbery, but it would have been unthinkable to argue with my dad, so all three of us pitiful little people walked forlornly to the crime spot. My dad didn’t even go with us.
When we knocked and the lady came to the door, one of us–maybe all of us–told her of our thievery, and how sorry we were. The darling lady joined us on the porch, smiled and said, “Why, my goodness, the yard is chock full of pears. You tell your dad you’re welcome to pick up pears any time you want to.”
Relieved, and spared the moniker of thief, we three siblings rushed home, chattering excitedly to our dad that we could now have all the pears we wanted. “Well, that’s good,” he said, then set in on us with a lesson on integrity…which as you can see, I have never forgotten.
Lately, I’ve been experimenting with a little still-life photography. I really like the print above and so does my neighbor, Melody. When I showed it to Jerry and asked what he thought, he just kind of looked at me and said something like, “Well, it’s okay.”
My masterpiece was just okay! I stared at him and asked. “What do you mean? You don’t like it?”
He stammered a trifle, not wanting to be offensive, but I could tell right away, he certainly didn’t think that shot could, with a straight face, be compared to Rembrandt’s paintings or such (think about it though… 🙂 it has that dark, intense strength of the renown painter…sort of…doesn’t it?) “Needs to show more seeds or something, I think,” he weakly finished.
Anyway, I’m sharing my pear still lifes (is it lives?) with you. What do you think? Kind of pitiful, aren’t they?