Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Dr. Chang's pear tree.

In late summer, on warm evenings, I sit in the yard and listen as ripe pears from the tree in one neighbour’s yard drop onto the lid of the plastic compost bin in the yard next door. It’s a frequent event because the pear tree is very tall, and very productive. I don't know why they don't leave the compost lid open.

Pear tree today. (With white blossoms.)

The man who owns the tree is Dr. Chang, who is from Taiwan. Dr. Chang is very short, and has thick white hair. Every so often I’m startled when my peripheral vision catches some white creature creeping along the top of the cedar fence that separates our properties. It’s Dr. Chang’s hair as he walks beside his garden. Sometimes he stands on something and we wave and say hello, but a language barrier prevents much more than that.

Pear tree in fruit. (Click to spy pears.)

In pear season, Dr. Chang or one of his relatives reaches up into the tree with a very long pole that has a plastic cup attached to the end and picks the fruit, one at a time. Watching from our yard, all you see is the pole moving around, poking through the branches. It seems a lot of work and goes on over several days. Inevitably our phone rings and I hear, in slow, difficult English, “This is Chang. Your neighbour. Come to the fence.”

I go into the yard and wait. I hear a noise, and two fence boards part slightly, revealing an eye. Then the gap between the boards closes, and after a few seconds a hockey stick is levered over the fence-top with a white plastic bag of pears dangling from the blade.

This year the tree’s blossom show has been spectacular, and the honeybees and other pollinators are extremely busy.

In three to four months, after the warm weather will have finally arrived (one hopes), I can look forward to a phone call and an especially heavy bag of pears.


Camera Trap Codger said...

Good story. And -- you've got a good neighbor there.

Hugh said...

Thanks. Yes he is. I don't know much Mandarin, but at least I know how to say thank you.

Cicero Sings said...

Lucky you, to have such a kind neighbour with a pear tree! You'll have to give that peartry pie recipe a whirl. My mouth is watering already just thinking about it after reading that fun post.