Of apples and cojones…

Sep 6, 2010 | 6 comments

Our Neighbor’s Apples

     As we said “goodbye” to our house guests yesterday afternoon, we noticed a small, shiny white pickup truck partially blocking the lane.  The day was still warm and sunny and there were a number of tourists in town.  Some were photographing the church, others were strolling along the street with walking tours in hand, but the owner of the pickup was busily picking apples from our neighbor’s tree.
     He wasn’t exactly furtive in his movements, but he was filling his large sack a little too quickly and there was something about him that didn’t fit the usual Sunday afternoon village ambience.  As we watched, he had stripped all the apples from the branches he could reach and he returned to his truck for a fishing pole.  He used it with a practiced deftness to pull toward himself the branches he could not reach.
     “Do you have permission to pick those apples?” I called out to him.
     “I’m just taking enough for a pie.”  His voice and pants were full of attitude.
     “But,” I protested, “they are on private property.”
     “I’m just taking enough for a pie,” he repeated.  And he went on hooking branches and picking apples.
     “You need to ask the owner’s permission,” I said again.
     “I’ve been around here a long time,” he told me, “and these apples are on this here easement that goes to the ocean.  I don’t need permission.”
     That he referred to the bay as the ocean in the same breath that he had declared his long-term association with the area struck me as so ludicrous and so stupid that I gave up.  As I passed by his pickup, I noticed a neatly painted sign on the back window – a construction firm I’d not heard of before.  I was so annoyed I didn’t pay much attention to the other information imparted there – perhaps an address or a phone number.
     In retrospect, I think he had a point.  Some of those apples do overhang the lane and perhaps it is not illegal to pick them.  But, I still contend it is wrong.  Unfortunately, legal/right and illegal/wrong are not always synonymous concepts.  Thank goodness we don’t get many folks of that young man’s ilk in Oysterville.  And you can bet money that we won’t soon be using his construction firm for anything – if indeed it exists.  It isn’t listed in the local phonebook.  I checked.


  1. Michelle C.

    Oh yes, “what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine.” Entitlement to what others have and what others put their time and effort into is the NEW American way, didn’t you know?

  2. Stephanie Frieze

    That guy was making more than a pie with the apples since it takes six to do that. He ought to have asked, but since he seems ignorant of geography, he probably is of manners as well. I certainly like to see fruit get used rather than end up a squishy mess on the ground, but he ought to have asked.

    If you need construction/restoration/painting, etc. call Mychael Clarson 360-244-2576. He’s an “old growth vegetarian” who would ASK before picking apples or anything else.

  3. MaryBeth Kelly

    Gosh, my apple thefts were always furtive and guilt-laden and never more than an apple or two. I certainly don’t like the escalation.

  4. Flora Gardener

    I have wondered if Mychael was still around. Haven’t seen him for years….but he does wonderful work.

  5. Joan Stuart Ross

    The young man who picked from the apple tree located on the Clay Street easement is my excellent contractor/carpenter–he has been on the peninsula for a long time, and has done great work in rehabbing our Nahcotta house–he is also a very nice person. I highly recommend his work.He went home and made a pie for his family. He’s a hard-working peninsula family man. There are still lots of apples on that tree, waiting to be picked!

    • sydney

      Good to know. Still, by my somewhat old-fashioned reckoning, a “very nice person” would ask permission — unless the tree was in an abandoned yard or an unused area. Some years ago, when I asked my neighbor about apples on that very tree, she said she was planning to use them herself. I think she should have ‘first right of refusal’ since the tree is on (or adjacent to) her property.


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