My neighbor Cindy and I walk our dogs past this Orthodontist office that has an tree just hanging full of wonderful, ripe, flawless apples. Tasty apples, too – I’ve eaten a few that I could reach from the ground – Juicy and not too tart, with firm flesh. Just wonderful apples going to waste on the tree.
I vowed to steal them.
I figured there’s no orthodontist that sees patients on Saturdays – so I drove over in my car, parked under the tree and climbed onto the roof. Wouldn’t you know it, I could only reach a handful of apples. The fruit hung from the branch, just out of my reach. Many people would give up in defeat, but something about these apples lit a fire under my butt. I needed help and a way to reach the apples.
Pidi and I went to West Lebanon Feed and Supply to buy an Apple Picker. It’s a wire basket on the end of a pole with some rake-like fingers to pluck fruits from high up in the tree. I splurged the extra dollars to get the full 15′ model. I was going to get those damn apples come hell or high water. I called up Cindy and recruited her to my cause. Petty Crime and Free Apples. I mean, who doesn’t want that?
Now armed with implements and a co-conspirator, I load up the car and drive back to the Orthodontists office. I’m standing on the roof of my car and Cindy’s down on the ground unloading the apples from my picking basket into a bushel box. We have about half a bushel when up drives a guy in a black Porsche 911 from the 1970s. Instead of dropping the pole and running, I hopped off the roof of my car, walked up with a big smile and an armload of apples. I asked if he wants an apple. I ask if these are his apples. My heart is pounding in my chest.
Turns out, this is the orthodontist who owns the apples we’re stealing. He also happens to be a very nice guy and willing to trade pie for calling the police. He needs to wash his Porsche, so decided to come over to his office where, I guess, all orthodontists keep power washers. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I suspect somebody tipped him off that there were hooligans stealing his apples. He seemed surprised to find reasonably nice people willing to pick his apples for him for free. What’s an orthodontist going to do with a bushel of apples? Kids in braces aren’t supposed to eat them…
We picked a bushel of apples off his tree over the course of an hour. The orthodontist power-washed his Porsche and we all went home happy.
The apples were beautiful. I had to throw out 3 of the whole bushel. I made applesauce and got about 12 pints. I felt guilty keeping all of these free apples for myself, so I left a pile on the stoop of the orthodontist’s office, gave a bunch to my neighbors, and sent Cindy home with a weeks’ worth of fruit. She was my co-conspirator…
I think I may recruit Sam to go with me to steal a few more… I’m craving an apple pie.
October 22, 2013 at 1:45 pm
I’m so proud that you are carrying on the family tradition. Plants belong to no one but God. So we should help ourselves. Unless, of course, it is my red raspberries. My mother also said when someone give you a plant you shouldn’t thank them. Because all the plants belong to God. Now I want to go steal apples and make a crisp.
October 22, 2013 at 3:39 pm
Petty theft is a family tradition. Love it! We’d never think of stealing anything else.
October 22, 2013 at 9:51 pm
I just so happen to be making an apple crisp right now to take to my parish council meeting at church, but I must say I did pay for my apples! Love your writing Addi
October 22, 2013 at 10:18 pm
Thanks, Toni. I read about a program to pick and donate excess fruit to food pantries. Next season I may have a crew of volunteers to help me!
October 23, 2013 at 6:23 pm
It’s called foraging….
October 23, 2013 at 6:58 pm
I always think foraging with wild foods that nobody “owns” that I find on public property or deep in the woods. I think here, it’s OK to call it “stealing” since it’s on the property, just outside the windows of the Orthodontist’s office. Apple tree in the deep woods? Certainly I’ll call them “foraged” apples. 🙂