Staring down at the forbidden fruit

(Although this originally ran nearly 20 years ago, when the house was full of The Young Girls, it still seems worth seeing again.) "TOUCH THIS PEAR AND YOU'RE DEAD!!! So said the little hand-written sign placed conspicuously on the kitchen counte...

(Although this originally ran nearly 20 years ago, when the house was full of The Young Girls, it still seems worth seeing again.)

"TOUCH THIS PEAR AND YOU'RE DEAD!!! So said the little hand-written sign placed conspicuously on the kitchen counter in front of the most desirable (which means the only one in the house) Bartlett grocery store pear you've ever seen. It was a beauty.

Lately, now that there are five of us in this over-blessed household that weigh more than a hundred pounds each, pears and their brethren - milk, potatoes, bread, etc. - have become in high demand. Food vanishes around here with a Houdini-like abra-ca-dabra. It comes in the door in a brown paper bag. Then it's never seen again.

Which brings to mind the saying: "Two can live as cheaply as one." Which should mean five would be almost free. Uh uh. Were that old saying anything else but ridiculously absurd, I could have eaten that pear and perhaps lived to tell about it.

It was a very delicious looking pear. Perhaps the written notice attached to it warning of impending death and/or dismemberment was giving it a psychological value even greater than it should have had, like the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Try telling that to a hungry stomach, when no one else is around.


Except for that pear.

Meal time at our house has gotten complicated lately. Heck. Everything at our house has gotten complicated lately. The federal government has entire departments dedicated to transportation, housing, the treasury, the budget. The rest of us tackle these complicated undertakings alone. Complicated.

My stomach growled. It said: "Hey, look. We just came home from work. Supper isn't even close. None of The Tribe of Girls is in sight. See that pear?"

Yes, I see it. I also see that it has a sign on it warning of a major health impairment. That sign is also the first of its kind seen in this Teepee, which means mom seems to have reached some delicate moment in her life.

She has reached those moments before. One happened when early in our marriage it turned out that leaving your dirty shorts on the bathroom floor was no longer romantic. There have been others.

It was lucky she didn't put a warning sign on me while I slept.

Down at the neighbors yesterday, even they were wondering where all the food was. Their teenage son wandered out of his room, stood like he was in a waxy coma in the middle of the kitchen, and blurted out: "There ain't nothing to eat in this house." From a week ago, I'd swear he grew three inches in height, and four shoe sizes.

Meanwhile, back to that pear. Was it a crunchy one? Or was it lusciously juicy? If I were to eat it, how long would my silence insure my life at the inquisition that was sure to follow. Sometimes, the best response is a shrug of the shoulders and zipped lips and a quick move to some other place on the farm. That would shift the burden of proof to The Young Girls. Oftentimes, the chorus of "I didn't do it's" and "She did it's" confused Mom the Judge enough that escape was easy. Teenagers always look so guilty anyway*What the heck. As the only male in The Teepee, it was easy just to look kind of preoccupied and worry-laden, like any good department head in government looks when the cookie jar comes up empty.


Although, come to think of it, that worried and preoccupied look didn't cut it during the dirty shorts incident. That took numerous acts of contrition PLUS a change in behavior.

Perhaps if one sliced the pear in half from top to bottom and glued the front half to the kitchen cabinet wall*.That seemed humorous to me, so maybe mom would also find it funny enough to spare my life. On second thought, probably not. My sense of humor, time has proven, isn't on the same wavelength as any of The Tribe of Girls in this Teepee, much less mom's.

There was one withered-up old apple in the fridge. Let's see. If the apple was placed where the pear currently sat, perhaps mom would begin to question her own sanity regarding the disappearing food, and would now begin to think it was changing state.

It is one hour later. The Young Girls are home from school. The pear is, although it is difficult to comprehend, still sitting on the kitchen counter, wearing its sign.

"There's nothing to eat in this house," one of The Young Girls just stated.

There's a pear.

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