Wouldn’t it be great if I already had a picture of Caroline in her costume? That would be perfect since it’s, you know, Halloween and all. But today will be the first time she’s actually worn her costume because she’s officially reached the age where it’s not cool to wear your costume to the Pumpkin Patch and have pictures taken. And we didn’t do the neighborhood shopping center carnival because she had a soccer game on Saturday and probably wouldn’t have cared that much about it anyway.
Excuse me while I go have a nice cry.
Anyway, we had some drama here yesterday. And before you jump to conclusions, I want to let you know that Disney didn’t buy my film company for 4.05 billion dollars. Mainly because I don’t own a film company. Unless you count the occasional videos I take of Caroline with my iPhone. But I’m guessing those are probably only worth about four total dollars. Maybe $5.00 if I threw in one where she’s making a joke about poop.
So about a year and a half ago, P brought home a tiny little orange tree. He was planning to plant it down at the ranch but Caroline begged him to plant it in our front yard instead. And so he did. Because why would he deny his only daughter the dream of having fresh-squeezed orange juice made from oranges from her very own orange tree?
She helped him plant it in the front yard and over the last year and a half has been slightly obsessed with it, checking it at regular intervals to see if it had produced any fruit. And then it finally flowered this spring and P told her that meant that it would actually grow a few oranges this year. She was beside herself when she noticed about nine very small green oranges beginning to grow around April.
Over the last six months she has watered that tree and checked on her oranges and made big plans to drink homemade orange juice on Christmas morning. We noticed last week that the oranges were officially the size of, well, an orange. And the color was beginning to turn from green to slightly yellow. There was much excitement.
Then yesterday afternoon Caroline had an appointment to get her hair cut after school. And as we were coming back home from the beauty salon, I noticed there was a van parked in front of our house and a man in our front yard doing something. It took me a minute to figure out what it was before I realized he was hurriedly picking every single one of our oranges off our tree. Without even thinking, I rolled down my window and yelled, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? THOSE ARE OUR ORANGES. YOU CAN’T STEAL OUR ORANGES!”
P happened to be working in the driveway around back, heard me yelling, saw my car parked at a funny angle and thought I’d been in a wreck. I yelled to him, “THIS GUY IS STEALING OUR ORANGES”.
And so P quickly made his way to the front yard to confront the fruit thief. It turns out this guy was actually a contract employee for the Yellow Pages. He’d just delivered new Yellow Pages to our front door and then decided to help himself to all our oranges.
First of all, 1985 called and they want their Yellow Pages back. Does anyone even still use the Yellow Pages?
Secondly, who thinks they can just steal all the fruit from someone’s tree? Even worse, it wasn’t even ripe yet. He just ruined it.
Before you think I’m a little obsessed with my first world fruit thief problems, it’s not about the oranges. I realize it’s just a few oranges. In light of the hurricane on the East Coast and a million other things going on all over the world, this doesn’t even register. I need you to know that I know that.
But, like Gulley said, it was the anger at watching someone take something that my child had invested so much time in. He didn’t steal oranges, he stole her joy and sense of accomplishment.
And here’s the thing. If he had knocked on our door and asked for a glass of water or a piece of fruit or anything, we would have gladly given it to him. We try to live our lives with an open hand in recognition that everything we have belongs to God and not us anyway.
It was the stealing. It was the coming up in our front yard to deliver some lame Yellow Pages that we didn’t even want and then deciding he needed to take every single one of those oranges. Every single one. Seriously.
P made sure the guy knew how much those oranges meant to Caroline. And the guy offered to put them back. Except that doesn’t really work with unripe fruit from a tree. It’s basic science.
So I got on the Google and now we have our own little science fair experiment going with the unripe oranges (at least the ones he didn’t smash in the street) in a brown paper bag with some apples. Apparently the apples emit some sort of chemical that tells the oranges to ripen. You’re welcome for that free lesson.
We’ll see if it works.
As for Caroline, she finally settled down and we explained that it was just fruit and used it as a good lesson for why you should never take something that doesn’t belong to you. But she made sure to tell us later that she came in the house looking for a weapon to use on the thief and had decided her best bet was our metal toilet paper stand.
Because everyone knows it’s best to bring a toilet paper holder to a fruit fight.
Or something like that.
Hope y’all have a Happy Halloween.