We have a pineapple guava tree in our front yard that was planted by the former owner. It is a harbinger of Fall every year, since with the arrival of cooler weather comes a pulpy mess of guavas that fall from the tree and promptly get crushed underfoot. We have yet to eat a tasty one, as most of them are punishingly astringent. It’s tall, but not strong enough to climb or hang a swing on. See how we don’t feel any great affection towards this tree? And yet, this tree has managed to work its way into our family history.
Two stories for you. The first:
A couple of years ago, Otis’s passport needed to be renewed, so he and F went to the post office to submit his application.
The postal worker looked at the form that F filled out, and pointed to the spot where it said Occupation. “You wrote NONE here. You have to write an occupation.”
F pointed out that Otis was five years old, but she was not swayed. “Yes, but you still need to fill that out. Fill out a new form, and this time write in an occupation.”
Annoying, right? So F took a new form, and filled it out. When he got to the Occupation line, he asked Otis, “What’s your occupation? That means your job.”
Otis piped up, “I’m a guava picker!” (At the time, we were paying Otis 25 cents for each bucket of guavas that he picked up. Slave wages, we know, but if he could’ve found better pay elsewhere, we would’ve gladly let him out of his contract.)
Done. When F handed the form back to the postal worker, she demanded, “What is THIS?”
F responded, “That’s his job. You told me I had to fill that out, and that’s his job. He gets 25 cents a bucket.”
She was, as you can imagine, not amused. She made him cross out GUAVA PICKER and fill in STUDENT. And that, my friends, was my husband’s triumph over the bureaucratic morass that threatened to crush him. And one of the reasons why I love him.
My second story:
Otis’s grandparents gave him a pogo stick a year or two ago, and after a few half-hearted attempts, he set it aside. He has recently rediscovered it, and it has become the joy of his life. He has spent mornings and afternoons pogo-ing up and down the street, and our neighbors have even started to half-heartedly joke that they can hear the pogo stick in their dreams.
The other day, he asked me, “Mama, can I eat a snack while I’m pogo-ing?”
To which I responded, “No, but I’ll throw guavas at you while you’re pogo-ing.”
His surprisingly response: “Hey, great idea! I’ll start collecting them!”
Here’s the result, which is what passes for fun in our household: