Once upon a time there was a pear tree not far from White Rock Lake in Dallas, in a neighborhood that had a cunning mixture of ample ranch style homes and ranch style duplexes for the owners’ children to have half of a home to get them started. The other half was meant to be rented to genteel tenants whose rent paid the youngsters’ mortgage payments.
It was a nice plan and I owned one of the brick duplexes, while my tenant dutifully paid my mortgage and my equity increased.
These were 50s and 60s era homes with large lots and the duplex homes looked much like the single family homes. I gardened my lot extensively and kept my eye on the pear tree next door as it had a full flush of blooms and set fruit.
The young couple that owned the property never spent much time outdoors and their glorious pear tree went unremarked. Time went by and the pears developed and as they ripened and fell to the ground, wildlife from the creek started coming to snack on the bounty.
One afternoon the young couple approached me while I was transplanting miniature roses along my entry pathway between garage and kitchen door. They had a gardening problem… this tree I loved was messing up their yard with sticky litter… they asked if I knew what it might be and how long would it make such a mess. They were quite distressed and thinking about having the messy thing cut down. They could not imagine why anyone would plant such a thing! Even worse, it attracted horrible wild animals. Oh my.
What I would have given for that lovely pear tree that survived their ignorance and neglect and still provided fruit in the most generous way.
This seemed a common theme about 20 years ago, people liked their food in packages from the grocery store. Times are changing, which pleases me. As a visible and active gardener, I am considered both eccentric and an expert.
As an expert, I explained that it was a pear tree, likely a Bartlett pear. Oh. They did notice that it looked like pears, but we’re afraid to taste them in case they were poison. Was I sure? I was sure enough to eat one in front of them.
They did not bite into one of those deliciously aromatic pears ripened right on the tree.
I explained further about canning, pear butter, pear halves in syrup or juice, the delight of eating your very own pears all year long.
No. They would buy pears at the grocery store, thank you very much. As for the spring flowers, they missed that part.
As an eccentric, I volunteered to harvest the pears and bring them home. That reduced the wild animal horror pretty quickly. I spent a fair amount of energy processing pears, I’ll admit. I ate pear everything, even drank pear juice. I did consider, briefly, sharing the bounty with the younguns, but… no. Free yard service and wild animal control was as much as they received.
I felt sad to think that an earlier owner had planted a pear tree not only for himself, but for future owners, and the future had people that would never understand the generosity.
I wonder if there is still a pear tree in Dallas in front of that 1950s ranch style duplex.