Sunday, September 21, 2008

The plum harvest

Our 140-year-old neighbor offered to help us harvest the plum trees on the property line we share. Actually what he said was...

"Gfdfdm mufm plums fgmum hmmpf long pole fhm smunm gerfmn..."

So in my mind that meant that he'd get a long pole and shake the plums out.

"Okay! Come on over...that'd be great."

He mumbled something else -- he's a man of few words -- and headed to his garage. Back he came with a very long old ladder and pushed it across the fence toward me. Puzzled, I grabbed the other end and propped it against our house.

Meanwhile, the neighbor walked around to our yard (after realizing he wasn't able to scale our fence -- I'm serious). He moved the ladder closer to the tree and said....

"Mffhg hdmfn roof line fhdmn gumffn."

"Uh...why don't you let me do that. I can go up."

"No no. Mfhdg nmm fghumn."

And so it went. He went all the way up the ladder, and I stayed on the ground holding a bucket. He shook the tree and swung his rake around to get at the highest branches, and I stood there getting pummeled with plums and tried not to imagine him falling off the ladder. How could you!, the other neighbors would say. Don't you know that a 140-year-old man should not be teetering on a ladder shaking a plum tree?!

An hour and a half later, I finally convinced him that we didn't need to pick ALL the plums on the tree, and he came down the ladder and went home. The funny thing is, our neighbor doesn't eat plums. I don't know why, though he explained it to me twice ("Hmfer gufmm nffmm..."). I guess he was just helping us out of the kindness of his heart.

Or maybe his wife doesn't let him use his ladder as much as he'd like.

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