Sometime in the late 1970s, the previous owner of our home decided to create a fruit orchard in the backyard. While at first that idea seemed like a good way to provide delicious produce for the family, in reality it was mostly a way to attract bees.
Over the years, one by one, the fruit trees died until we were left with one huge pear tree, a fact that was very disappointing, in that the wife and I don’t like pears at all. They are like sand-infused fruit, and who the heck knows when they’re ripe?
A couple of days ago, during a glut of falling pears, the wife was walking across the backyard when she started doing an unusual dance accompanied by contorted facial expressions.
At first I thought she was doing a tribal dance of the Maori, the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand, wherein they make grotesque scary faces.
“That’s very good, dear,” I said to the wife. “Now is that the Maori challenge war dance, or is that the mating ritual dance?”
“I stepped on a bee. Oh dang, that thing hurts. I hate this stupid pear tree and its heinous fruit. There are bees everywhere eating the rotting pears,” she said still grimacing.
“You can understand my confusion as you are wearing the traditional footwear of the Maori people … no shoes. No wonder you got stung,” I offered sympathetically.
“I hate that stupid pear tree and I want it cut down now.”
My disdain for the last of our fruit trees was equal to the wife’s, not because of the bees, but because of the hundreds of pounds of rotted pears I have hauled to garden recycling every year.
“That does it,” I said to the wife, “The pear tree is coming down tomorrow, just in time for the city’s brush pickup.”
Watching her hop on one foot I said to the wife, “Now is that the Maori dance of eternal happiness?”
“Grrrrrrrrrr!” the wife said, which I can only assume was the tribal war dance.
For two days with chain saw in hand, I cut limb after limb off of the 40-year-old pear tree. And just about the time I was starting to feel badly about destroying one of God’s creations, I would get hit in the head with an over-ripe pear leaving pear sauce on my ball cap and T-shirt which would attract the bees and cause me to run and swat.
“Is that the Maori surrender dance where you succumb to your enemies?” the wife asked.
Tarp after tarp of brush was dragged to the curb by the wife as the tree got smaller and smaller. A neighbor lady even came over to assist because she could see we were in a complete state of “diss-pear.”
At the end of the two days, we had a huge pile of branches and limbs lining the curb in front of our house ready for brush pickup. I put a sign on the pile that said, “Ikea Pear Tree – (you assemble)”. Amazingly, there were no takers.
“It looks awfully barren without the pear tree,” the wife said.
“Maybe we should go shopping for another fruitless tree to replace it,” I said. “I know, let’s do the Maori Arbor Day dance for inspiration — you lead and I’ll follow.”
Raul Ascunce is a freelance columnist for the Sentinel-Tribune. He may be contacted at [email protected]