A cry for help … or at least for a napkin

I should have seen it coming.  All of the signs were there.  His preference for fruit over chocolate alone should have set off the warning signals in my head. It started out so innocently.  “Come on,” he coaxed.  “Let’s go pick some raspberries!”  It sounded so romantic and fun.  We strolled into Rock Creek Park and filled a silver bowl with a substantial amount of jewel-like berries that the birds and squirrels had not yet discovered (or did not want to risk feather or fur dipping into the thorny bushes to retrieve).  “36 CFR §2.1 be damned!” we exclaimed.  Was it the natural and unadulterated flavor that made the fruit taste so sweet or was it the fact that it was forbidden?  Or was it the cup of sugar we mixed in with the berries to make our own homemade jam?  Whatever the reason, that first batch of stolen raspberries was the gateway fruit.

A few years ago, TP discovered a fruiting fig tree in DC.  At the time, it seemed as exotic and unbelievable as finding a polar bear on a deserted tropical island.  He and his buddy, “Sars,” (this nickname was bestowed on said buddy pre-Sars, by the way.  And yet, we never stopped calling him that in deference to the disease and would wonder at the odd and frightened looks we’d get when calling out for him in a crowded street.  But that’s another story.) would eye it, monitor its progress, and when the fruit was ripe, surreptitiously spirit away as much as their little paws could carry.  Since then, we’ve found many a stash (some on private property, some on federal property, some on the National Cathedral’s property) and we’ve conducted many a stealthy operation to purloin figs around the city.  Eventually, we planted two fig trees in our own backyard but that did not stop him from a constant recon mission on any given outing to find and collect them.

On a trip to the French countryside during our honeymoon, TP was fairly vibrating at the sight of all the plump and juicy grapes we encountered.  Some grew wild and some were tenderly cultivated but all had the same fate: a one way journey into his gaping maw.  He grew more bold in the early morning hours as he made a cursory inspection for any witnesses before popping a few.  His purple stained teeth and lips were as much at odds with his usual cantankerous demeanor as his radiant smile and satisfaction.

This weekend, however, TP went spiraling out of control.  He not only pilfered pawpaws from a pawpaw tree growing in someone’s front yard in Dupont this morning (he had observed and took note of its location a few weeks ago and judged that today would be a fine day for ripe rather than raw pawpaws), but this afternoon, with deliberate forethought and a plastic bag normally kept handy for emergencies, he harvested an enormous amount of figs from a Silver Spring residence.

I ignored the signs until it was too late.  Now, I have to come to terms with the fact that TP is beyond help, is caught in the grip of a powerful and unshakable urge, is a certifiable fruit thief.  There is no 12 step program, no support group, no opportunity for recovery from recidivism.  Consider this fair warning, all you “waterlemon” growing folk out there. You don’t know what you are in for.


8 responses to “A cry for help … or at least for a napkin

  1. I love that against all odds, TP is the subject of a post that is *not* categorized under cantankerousness. Hurrah!

    And the pictures of the figs and berries are so cute and pretty!

    Also, I like that when lawyers attack, they do so with specific knowledge of which ordinances they are flouting. Where would the fun be otherwise?

  2. do’h! i always forget about the tags (’tis a new concept for me). sorry to burst yer bub, but, on the other hand, at least it will contribute to your cantankerousness to see that TP is now officially categorized as such.

  3. haha! STOP, TIEF!
    i, too, am in lowve with that footoo of the green figs. you know, i never knew til this weekend that there are green figs that are ripe. i’m used to the black/purple ones.

    esspeaking of which! soms came over yesterday, and presented us with a basket of fresh fruit and veggies from her home. except that the black figs included in it were actually picked from the public park next door to her home. i need to get all stealthy like TP and stalk out public places with free fruitS for my taking.

  4. high five to soms for her derring-do! i wish someone would deliver home grown fruits and veggies to my door. hmm, my parents are visiting next week. maybe i can score some delicious tomatoes if they survive the plane ride!

  5. High 5 TP for loving fruit….
    Somehow fruit (oranges, guavas etc) from public property such as the golf course is sooo sweet.
    Babu will NEVER eat another bite of ANYTHING after a meal when he has finished his plate of food. But offer him watermelon and see his eyes sparkle and his answer will always be “yes.”
    Me, I’ll refuse EVERYTHING except chocolate !!

  6. did he leave any at our house? i dont think he did… i need to sneak out there at night and pick some of my OWN.

  7. nani – ha! i agree with you – even post-toothbrushing, i’ll eat chocolate and rebrush if i have to!

    lb – i think he brought the rest home b/c you were the only one eating it. let me know if the tree is still chock full! we may have to plan a family filching this weekend.

  8. I think Nani should steal some chocolates for us from the nearest golf course stat!

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