55: My Parents’ Pears

55: My Parents’ Pears

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home

My Parents’ Pears

It is difficult to realize how great a part of all that is cheerful and delightful in the recollections of our own life is associated with trees.

~Wilson Flagg

I did not know what to expect when I knocked on the door of the house my parents had built in 1948. The door, now bright green, had a new brass knocker, although the old brass keyhole and doorknob were the original ones I remembered. This was no longer my home. I was just passing through town.

When a young man opened the door, I blurted out, “My mother and father built this house. It was their home for many years and mine when I was young. May I please have some of those pears on the ground and hanging heavy on the branches? My dad planted those trees — ”

“Do you want a sack or a basket?” laughed the young man. “Take all you want. I’m a history major at the college here. My parents own the house. They were renting it, but now they let me live here. I’d like to know about the house.”

So I stepped inside. “Those are the hardwood floors I knew. It was my job to paste wax and polish them, once a week.” I looked and pointed. “That was my bedroom. That was…”

The young man listened. He showed me his choices of fresh paint, excellent colors for the house, this house no longer my home. I myself had chosen blue wallpaper and a floral border for my room when I was young. I loved making choices then.

I stepped back outside, quickly. I clutched a strong bag. I filled it with pears from a tree in the front yard. Then, I walked back to a pear tree that had been special to my mother, the one just outside her kitchen window, which brought first blooms of spring to her, year after year. From that tree, I picked a few more pears.

Later on that rainy autumn day in 2010, I shared the pears with our daughter and grandson as my husband and I passed through their city on our 360-mile trip back to the place where we live now.

“These are pears from trees your great-grandfather planted,” I said to my grandson. He remembers his great-grandfather, that house, those trees.

We ate the pears and decided they were the best we’d ever tasted.

Some of the remaining pears were soft and turning brown by the time I got home. I dug a hole and planted them. Who knows? The pears come from good stock. They may thrive here.

~Shirley P. Gumert

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