Really, they were just begging to be stolen.
Giant clusters of pale green fruit, seductively pulling branches closer to the ground with their fully-ripened weight.
Alas, there was a chain link fence between us and this mouth-watering bounty of sand pears.
But, but, but: The house where this tree stood had been vacant for months. This was the perfect example of victimless crime, I argued to Jenn.
I reached a hand through the fence to grab a pear that had fallen from the tree and rolled to the edge. I hand-over-handed it up and over. It was half rotten.
“See?” I pleaded. “They’re just going bad out here.”
It didn’t take much convincing before we were both onboard, determined that this fruit would find an end to its life more fitting than the belly of neighborhood vermin (aka river rats) or stray cats. If that more fitting home were in our bellies, then this would just be the sacrifice we would make, for the good of the sand pears.
The fence wasn’t locked, so absconding with the goundlings was easy. But most of these weren’t salvageable. I looked to the heavens for more of this bounty.
And I got the broom out of the truck to whack down some more pears.
Some would argue that sand pears aren’t even that good. They’re a little granular (hence the name, I suppose) and not terribly sweet. But they’re great for drying and adding to our homemade trail mix, or for sautéing with a little butter as a side dish or ice cream topping. (We posted some other crowdsourced ideas for them a couple years back.)
Some others would say this fruit liberation has its karmic consequences.
These people would be right, and consequences would come not in some faraway afterlife. I strained my back with one too many swings of the broom (You know you’re old when…). And I tore a shirt and drew blood from a nasty scrape on my triceps when I was attacked by part of the fence. I held no grudge; it was just doing its job.
But we saved probably 30 pounds of fruit from senseless decomposition. And it’s enabled us to give the solar food dehydrator its first real workout of the season.
The upside is readily, um, a-pear-ant.