Thursday, January 23, 2014
“What about here?” Mr. Wonderful said tapping his foot on the soil.
“Too close to the road,” I said scanning the front yard.
“Too close to the house.”
“Too close to everything else.”
To say that I was being picky was an understatement. But then it isn’t every day you have to decide where to plant a lemon tree that will live for oh, 90 years—give or take. Plus this wasn’t just any old lemon tree: it was a gift that Mr. Wonderful and I gave each other for Christmas. Forget the wool socks, silk ties and spa gift cards, this past Christmas my spouse and I gifted each other wine, a lemon tree and uh, more wine. So this tree had to be planted in a special place, a place where it would thrive, a place that Mr. Wonderful and I could agree upon. Ay, there’s the rub: we had to agree since it belonged to both of us.
Looking for a compromise I made a suggestion.
“Let’s look at the neighbors’ lemon trees.” Charles and Stephen had several lemon trees in their garden. In fact, their property was a regular orchard that rivaled anything you’d see near Fresno, along the 5 and in all those movies about orchards, uh, like Lemon Tree.
Mr. Wonderful liked my suggestion so we hoofed it to the neighbors’ orchards to see the lemons, oranges, and grapefruit. Posing our placement question to the neighbors, they gave us sage advice.
“Don’t plant it near a fence,” Charles said.
“Or everyone walking by will grab your fruit,” Stephen added. As if on cue, two teenagers stopped to grab a branch resting on the fence, but still on our neighbors’ property, and plucked six lemons from the tree.
“Hello!” Charles called out to them with a friendly wave at which point the kids dropped the fruit and ran away. A passing truck flattened all six fruits lying in the street.
“No one wins when you plant a fruit tree near a fence,” Stephen sighed. Good suggestion.
Walking back to The House, we saw Mary. Being a good Christian woman when she heard our dilemma she also gave us advice.
“Don’t plant it in the front yard. No one can steal fruit from your tree if they can’t see it.”
I never would have thought a good Christian woman needed to thwart thieves but maybe she was just trying to help those fruit-stealing kids to keep the eighth commandment. Any way we looked at it, she was right. Another good suggestion.
“What’s all the hubbub about?” our 86 year-old neighbor said checking his mailbox.
“Harold, if you had to plant a tree—”
“A lemon tree,” I said.
“Where would you plant it?” Mr. Wonderful and I said in unison.
“In the ground,” Harold said looking at us as if were crazy.
When planting it, we heeded all their suggestions and now agree—the tree is in the perfect spot, for the next, oh, 90 years—give or take.