A Tourist, A Chef, And A Dad With Questionable Judgment Walk Up To My Apple Trees…

If the title of this post sounds like the opening line of a joke, that’s because apple trees are funny. Well, not inherently, but place them in your private backyard next to a public sidewalk along a busy road and the comedy script writes itself.

I feel like the punch line to this joke should be, “…and all we got were these lousy apples.” But, that punch line is generally reserved for souvenir t-shirts.

Hey, that’s an idea. I could open a booth and sell commemorative t-shirts that read, “I stole Shannon’s apples and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!” Or better yet, rather than setting up a booth to sell them, I could just set them on a table next to the trees where people could easily STEAL the t-shirts while they’re pilfering the apples. Then I could print on the back of the shirts, “I also stole this t-shirt!”

I don’t often write about a subject more than once, but I feel my last post, Kind Sir, Get Your Hands Off My Apples, deserves this update.

I wrote last time about how strangers feel perfectly comfortable and, more often than not, entitled to walk into my backyard and steal the apples right off my apple trees that have been in my yard for nearly 40 years.

I get all types of people. Last week there was the lady who parked her pickup under the boughs of my Red Delicious to jump in the truck bed and reach for the prime crop.

This week I had three sets of thieves with three different tactics, one of which is a first in all my days of Kravitzing, I will leave that dandy for last.

(Note, in case you are unfamiliar. Definition: Kravitzing, to Kravitz. To spy through the curtains or blinds out the window at something going on outside, as the nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz did on the 1960s television show Bewitched. Yelling “Abner!” is optional. I don’t know if others use this term or if my mom made it up, but she could often be heard telling me when I asked her why she was standing in the room with the lights off, “Shh. I’m Kravitzing. The police pulled over a car in front of our house.”)

Here’s what I Kravitzed through the bathroom blinds this week.

The Chef.
She was my first, “may I have your permission to steal your apples” request of the season. I was sitting in the front window, so I saw her pull up and park on the street, and I thought, yep. Apples.

She sounded nervous, as though going up to strangers and asking them for their property was not something she did every day. She started off with, “This is going to sound really weird, but…”, and I thought to myself, “um. No. You’re like 800th person to ask me what you’re about to ask me.” (Must be what celebrities feel like when approached for a picture…you’re not the first to ask, dude.)

She had plans for apple butter and offered to bring me some. I said, not necessary (because, although a lovely gesture, I do not want a stranger’s apple butter), and as long as she left some for others, she could go ahead. I feel bad that I wasn’t super pleasant (I wasn’t rude either). I guess I even want strangers who request permission to take my things to like me. She told me I was awesome…sooo true dat.

I didn’t take any pictures of her, because I gave her my permission. But, just as I wrote in my last blog post, “…I don’t like confrontation. It makes me uncomfortable to tell you, ‘No, stranger, I would prefer you did not steal from me.’…So, I’ll probably tell you to go ahead, but to not take too many. I will be mad about this though. Mad that you’re stealing my apples and mad that I gave you my permission. I will question my own gumption and it will affect my self-esteem for the next several hours. Yes, sir, your wife’s fresh batch of applesauce will have ruined my whole day.” And, as predicted, yes, madam, your fresh batch of apple butter ruined my whole afternoon.

The Dad With Questionable Judgment.
At first glance, this dad and his son appeared to almost, kind of, be doing me a favor. They appeared to be only stealing the apples that had already fallen on the ground. They were shoveling them into a bucket as fast as a horde of kids sweeping candy off the street of a parade route.

Well, I thought, that’s not so bad, it’s a pain to get rid of the ones on the ground. Thanks, father-son thieves…oh, nope. Wait. Yep. They’re pulling them off the trees too. Nevermind.

"This one, dad?" "Actually, you want to steal ones more like this. I'm so glad we've had this time together in a stranger's yard, son. Time to bond in the lessons of pillaging." "Me too, dad."
“This one, dad?” “Actually, you want to steal ones more like this. I’m so glad we’ve had this time together in a stranger’s yard, son. Time to bond in the lessons of pillaging.” “Me too, dad.”

I feel like he’s teaching him a lesson about proper apple picking in this picture. I’ve got a better lesson for you to teach your son, “Why stealing other people’s property is wrong.”

Or I’d even settle for him teaching his son how to properly estimate volume. “If Johnny and his dad are going to steal 200 apples, how many 5 gallon buckets do they need to bring, so they don’t have to make multiple trips to the car?” They made FOUR trips back and forth from the backyard trees to the front of the house where their car was parked, to empty and reuse the same bucket. You WILL use math in real life, kids. Stay in school!

I question this dad’s judgment in choice of father-son bonding activities.

I question his judgment in food safety. Not only were they taking the not so great apples from the ground, but what were they doing when they brought each bucket back to the car? Dumping them on the floor of the passenger seat??As a recovering germaphobe, I find this cringeworthy.

I also question this dad’s judgment in choice of foot apparel. Are those loafers without socks? Is that a thing again? What is this 1988? C’mon. At least give me the courtesy of pretending you fear I might try to run you off my property. Show up in something you can run away in.

The Tourist.

I could not make this up if I tried. If I were writing a fictional story about an apple tree everyone liked to steal from, I would never have come up with this plot point. That’s why I am so happy I was able to witness it in real life and capture it on my smartphone for posterity.

In the early evening, I heard voices walking past my living room window. I walked to the back of the house to peek out. Sure enough, a man and a woman picking apples and filling a plastic grocery bag. Nothing out of the ordinary there, but as I watched through the blinds, the story got better. I was running a commentary out loud, to myself, as the scene unfolded.

“What is that? What’s going on here? Gasp, is that your phone? Oh, please tell me you’re doing what I think you’re about to do! Are you handing him your phone?! Oh, please be going to take a picture, of yourself posing with the tree, because this is awesome! YES!! You are!! I love it!”

That’s right, folks, this couple POSED FOR PICTURES with the apples WHILE they were stealing them!!

Like excited tourists who met a costumed Spider-Man in Times Square, the woman took out her phone and handed it to the man who carefully focused and took several pictures as she giggled and struck different poses with the apples on the branch.

Um. Hey, guys? In case you’re not from around here, I feel obligated to inform you…that’s not Spider-Man. That’s an apple. I know they’re both red and don’t have mouths. It’s easy to confuse the two.

Welcome to stealing apples in the digital age.

In days of old, we had to rely on the detailed retelling of stories about how grandpa stole apples from stranger’s trees. Now, in 40 years when this family is sitting around at Thanksgiving, not only will they tell the younger generations stories of the great capers of old, they’ll have photos to add to the excitement.

“Here’s the beautiful pie we made that day, back in 2014. Doesn’t it look delicious?”

“And here’s Great Auntie June with Spider-Man hanging from a tree!”

"Excuse me, Spider-Man? Can we get a picture?" "Say LARCENY!"
“Excuse me, Spider-Man? Can we get a picture?” “Say LARCENY!”

Ah, they posed for pictures, while they were stealing my apples. Posed. For. Pictures. I love it! I will never get rid of these trees. They are an unending source of entertainment for me.

So, thank you, Tourists, Chef, and Dad with Questionable Judgment for entertaining me this week. I promise to have your t-shirts ready for you next year.

3 thoughts on “A Tourist, A Chef, And A Dad With Questionable Judgment Walk Up To My Apple Trees…”

  1. During this, and the previous apple saga post, I kept envisioning a ghost or creature on a zip-line from your house to the tree — at the most critical moment. Not sure if the property is configured that way, but for about $12 you can construct such device, add in another $50 for a used GoPro, and you too good have Thanksgiving pictures and videos of apple thieves tossing them up in the air, and screaming at the ghost of apples future.

    Or apples past…


  2. Having seen the actual proximity from the apple tree to your house, I feel like I need to let readers know that your tree is much closer to your back deck than these pictures make it appear. It’s like these people KNOW they are going to be seen, like 99 percent chance of getting discovered, and don’t give a flying beep. I still say random paint ball shootings (strategically placed as coming from anywhere but your house) would be a GREAT way to pass time.


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