Monday, October 6, 2008

He said, "We'll always have pears."

Once upon a time there was a large pear named Pudgy. Everyone called him Pudgy because he was the largest pear in the tree. He lived at the top of the biggest tree in a very big pear orchard. As far as Pudgy could see in any direction he saw nothing but pear trees filled with other pears like him, except smaller.

One day people came. He saw them coming with bags over their shoulders, carrying long ladders and poles. They plucked all the other pears out of the trees and put them into their bags, then they dumped the pears into gigantic buckets which machines came and took away. When they got to Pudgy’s tree they climbed on their tallest ladder and they reached with their longest pole, but no matter how high they climbed and how far they reached, they could not touch Pudgy. So, they left him there at the top of his big tree. And he was all alone. Day after day.

Then, after many days, he saw more people coming. They were riding on loud, yellow machines. Far away, in the distance he saw the yellow machines puff out black smoke and they knocked down the other pear trees. They slowly moved closer and they kept knocking down trees and dragging them away until every pear tree was gone, except Pudgy’s.

When they came to Pudgy’s tree they stopped. They turned off all the loud, yellow machines, and three men with helmets on their heads stood together holding a wide piece of paper. They looked at the paper and pointed. They looked off into the distance and pointed. Then they turned around and looked at Pudgy’s tree, but they didn’t point. They all nodded and shook hands, got back into their machines and went away. And Pudgy was all alone again. Day after day.

After many more days, Pudgy saw more machines in the distance. He saw them moving and building things, they built roads and houses. After more time passed, they came to Pudgy’s tree and right next to it they built another house. It was just like all the other houses, except it was bigger. In fact, it was the biggest house of them all. Even though he was the largest pear in the biggest tree next to the biggest house, Pudgy was still the only pear in a big, empty tree next to a big, empty house. And Pudgy was still lonely. Day after day.

Finally, after many more days, so many more days that Pudgy had grown used to being lonely and thought he would always be lonely; finally, after all those days, a family came and they moved into the big house next to his tree. Then, on the branches of Pudgy’s tree, flowers bloomed and buds formed and little pears grew. They looked just like his old friends, except smaller.

The family’s father hung a swing on the thickest branch of Pudgy’s tree. Like lots of families, the family had a father and a mother. The family had three boys: a tall boy, a medium-sized boy and a smaller boy, and the family also had a girl, who was smaller still. They all shouted and laughed as they played on the swing and ran around Pudgy’s tree. When it was hot, they laid on the cool ground in the shade under the branches of Pudgy’s tree. When it rained, they stayed inside.

The other pears grew larger. They all looked up to Pudgy because he was the largest pear and because he was at the top of the tree. Pudgy talked to them about the old days and how things used to be when all the other trees were around him. When Pudgy told these stories he sometimes became sad. As the days passed, his friends the new pears grew larger still, and they started falling out of his tree. Pudgy was worried, he was afraid he would be alone again.

But, the three boys and the little girl came and picked up the pears. They took them inside the big house and Pudgy could smell the pies their mother made with those pears and that made Pudgy happy because his family in the big house was happy. He loved his family. He loved the way the boys climbed his branches and talked and laughed. He loved watching them running in the yard around him, playing tag or throwing a baseball to each other. He loved it even though they sometimes threw pears instead.

Every year new pears would come. Flowers would bloom and buds would form and his tree would be filled with more pears again. And every year his family took them and they made pies and other sweet things that made them happy. There were often more pears than the family could eat. So, they invited their friends over, and they gathered around Pudgy and laughed and talked and listened to music and sometimes they even danced. They picked his pears and they took them away, but this didn’t make Pudgy sad because he knew the pears would make his family’s friends happy, too. Everyone had fun on those days and everyone was happy, especially Pudgy because he knew he would never be lonely again. Day after day.

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