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The Eclectic Pen - Harvesting Pears

By: George A. (Eagle1)  
Date Submitted: 12/25/2008
Last Updated: 12/25/2008
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs » Family & Childhood
Words: 542

  Harvesting Pears

Every Autumn, when we were kids, our family held our perennial pear harvest. Behind the one-car garage in our backyard on 60th Street stood twin pear trees. Very tall were these trees, or so they seemed to this post-toddler.

In the evening, Dad would don a cotton, striped, multi-pocketed apron and climb one of the trees. He'd pick all of the pears he could reach, stuffing them in the pockets of that apron. (This may have been the only time that Dad wore an apron!) When all of the pockets were crammed to capacity with the not-too-ripe pears, Dad would climb down the tree and unload his treasures into a wooden bushel basket. Up he'd go again, repeating this repetitive procedure, picking, cramming, climbing down, unloading, then up again.

Eventually, all of the reachable pears were picked. All five of us kids, my three older sisters and my younger brother, along with Mom, would gather to perform our ritual roles of "getting the rest of the pears." We'd all circle around an old olive-colored Army blanket (presumably Richie's or Bill's) and clutch the edge of it. We'd move, kind of like a drunken Chinese dragon in a parade, under a branch that had a few clinging, unreachable pears. Dad would then reclimb the tree and shuffle out on that branch as far as he dared, grasping whatever limbs that he could.

Then it would begin! Dad would start bouncing up and down on that bough, attempting to loosen the tenacious grip of those few pieces of fruit. Like the very first drops of a mid-summer shower, the pears would begin to slowly fall earthward. The theory was that the pears would land in the blanket. Some would, some wouldn't. When one landed on the ground, Dad would yell from his perch for the dragon to move this way or that. We'd lurch about, usually in different directions. Of course, one of us would lose our grip on the fruit-trampoline, causing that edge to dip and the pears to roll off. Dad would really begin to holler then! We'd scramble to pick up the slack edge of the blanket, trying to keep the holy-holey food from touching the earth (from whence it came).

So it went--bouncing, clutching, lurching, scrambling. As often as not, the reason I lost my grip (literally and figuratively) was that one of these unripened pears would miss the bulls eye and bop me on the bean. Then I'd start hollering, unclutching the blanket, holding my goose-egged noggin.

This ceremony would continue until well after dark, which made it more difficult for the pears to see the target. When it was mercifully over, we'd all be exhausted from the clutching, lurching, scrambling, and bopping. But, by God, we got every last pear off of those damn trees!

Throughout the fall and winter, we'd gather a bowlful of pears from those very same bushel baskets that were stored in the attic. I'd like to say that we could then enjoy consuming those luscious fruits, but I never enjoyed eating those always green, rock-hard, wormy pears.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by George A. (Eagle1)

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Comments 1 to 3 of 3
Veronica S. (snowkitty) - , - 12/25/2008 1:25 PM ET
Cute story...sounds like the damn apple tree in our yard when I was a kid. My father dragged me out in a hurricane to pick up the fallen fruit. I was scared, but it actually was kind of fun.
Joyce M. (j3m) - 12/25/2008 1:56 PM ET
I'll bet you don't keep fruit trees. LOL
Linda H. (CleoAuthor) - 12/25/2008 3:57 PM ET
I really like the details of this story. It was a sensory delight! CleoAuthor
Comments 1 to 3 of 3