The Pear

Technology has finally caught up with my dad.  He invented “The Pear” which today is similar to a facebook “Poke” with a sinister twist.  The hand gesture is made by placing all fingertips (and the thumb) together and pointing it at your victim.  It is a “gotcha” when you consider that he and his grandchildren discovered The Pear during an innocent visit to Medieval Times. 

The  pear of anguish is the modern name for a type of instrument displayed in some museums, consisting of a metal body (usually pear-shaped) divided into spoon-like segments that could be spread apart by turning a screw.  The instrument was inserted into the victim’s mouth or rectum, and then slowly spread apart as the screw was turned.  Of course the six to ten year-olds were fixated by the latter use and giggled uncontrollably all night.

Never one to miss an opportunity, Gramps invented “The Pear.”

“Getting Peared” became the end game of our family times together as the grandchildren grew and became parents themselves.  They peared each other, they peared inappropriately as often as possible, and they peared ME!    Technology helped them find long distance pearing methods.  My niece, Sarah, living in Washington state recently “got me” with this one.  Gramps would be proud to know it has TRICKled down to another generation.

The pear is especially handy when most socially inappropriate…like getting someone with it during a long, boring meeting or doing it when only the recipient can see it.  For example, you might be meeting someone important (like your child’s teacher) and as introductions are made, your kid gets behind the teacher and shoots you a Pear.  Sometimes I pass one of my kids today on the road and as we near each other, I stick my hand up and out of the moon roof and shoot him a Pear…this is known as a drive-by Pearing and it gets extra brownie points.

The real challenge lately has been to keep myself from driving 360 miles to Pittsburgh to spank my nephew’s butt for encouraging his (otherwise) wonderful son, Caleb, to draw pear pictures and mail them to me.

Caleb, when he is not drawing pictures of pears.

I get the mail, my heart swoons because Caleb has sent me a letter!.  But nooooo….   that stink pot is at home giggling, just waiting for Aunt Kelly to get Peared.   His dad is lucky that he is a U.S. Marine and only me and Chuck Norris are afraid of U.S. Marines.

When my oldest son went skiing in Switzerland, I asked him to bring me something back (I’m thinking CHOCOLATE).  Silly me.  His “gift” was a photo of himself, standing so triumphantly in front of a 10′x15′  public transit billboard of a ripe, dew covered pear.  I have to admit, I kind of admired his choice.

Cell phones have taken this fixation to a whole new level.  I might be shopping at Target for a shower curtain and happen upon one covered in pears.  OMG…Instantly, my heart starts racing.  I have to “get someone with it.”  This generally results in a group text.

There was one year, though, on Grandparent’s Day, that I got even with my dad for all this when I framed this super sweet photo of his grandchildren as his “gift.”



















The Story of the Broken Ankle

The only smart thing I did that day was to sneak off into the woods and relive myself behind the tent as soon as I woke up.  My brother was shuffling around down by the boat so I walked over to see what the commotion was.  Woody had just tossed back what we affectionately call a snake (an undersized northern pike) and was parking his fishing pole against a tree, all proud of himself.  It was around 9:30 a.m. on a chilly Yooper summer morning on a remote, wilderness island anchored two miles north of our base camp on the Michigamme Reservoir near Crystal Falls, Michigan.

Snake Extraction

“Our spot” had all the creature comforts any adventurer would expect from two seasoned campers.  A green, dented Coleman cook stove was percolating some cowboy coffee on top of a sturdy, white pine picnic table.  Nails were pounded into trees to hold ropes, lanterns and supplies.  The fire pit was protected by heavy stones of every hue and shape that we’ve carried in year after year and arranged as the years blur by.  There is a tarp covered cache for our food and we have a flat bench by the fire where boat cushions are stacked for extra comfort.  The best part about our camp is its location, on the back side of this island, hidden from view by a secret passage.

Oh yeah…deluxe!

Still in my sleeping shorts and tee shirt, I gathered up a Pop Tart for breakfast and sloshed it down with an ice cold diet Coke from the cooler.  Woody finished his coffee and wanted to head back to Way Dam Resort, our base camp.  The day was so perfect, so peaceful, so beautiful, so aromatic and satisfying that we struck a deal.  He would take the boat, go back to the resort, and return for me about five hours later, at 3 p.m.   I’m thinking, “I have my pop and my Reader’s Digest so I’m all set.  Go!  Leave me alone in paradise.”

Pure Michigan Sunrise

He wasn’t gone but ten minutes when I got to thinking about that fish he caught.  I figured if he could catch a fish from the shore right there, I could too.  I snagged his pole and walked down the steep, sandy bank to the water’s edge and began to cast and retrieve.  Nothing.  Again.  Nothing.  Then I got to thinking maybe the boat’s wake mucked up the water right there so I should slip over a bit and try my luck again.  My luck struck.  Instantly.  Before my mind could grasp the consequences of my actions, I was splayed out on the ground and my leg went one way while my foot went the other:  a washout was under the sand.  On the way down I was fortunate enough to hear two crisp snaps.  Uh-oh.

This was ugly.   I took an instant inventory as adrenalin spiked my senses.  I remember thinking, “This isn’t good.”  When the horror of it subsided, and without extra or really any thought, I grabbed my foot like one would instinctively swat a bee and snapped it back into place.  Within a couple of minutes, I had kankles!


Suddenly I realized how wet and cold the sandy shore was.  It didn’t worry me much because the sun was getting higher in the sky.  Screaming for help was not an option; I knew that no one could hear me or find me.  So I did what any Campfire girl would do.  I started to sing songs and make a mental note of the birds I saw flying overhead.  At one point a giant, white headed bird sailed low, very close and my thought was, “Buzzards!”  I continued to entertain myself and wait calmly, knowing that in reality, THIS was the best the day was going to be for me because, once I was rescued, doctors would be poking, prodding and pinching me.  I was in no rush, and, surprisingly, it wasn’t as painful as you might think.

The passing hours allowed me time to figure out a plan.  Our boat was a deep-V Lund aluminum one and my dad’s boat was a  bass boat with a flat front style.   Woody would be coming back in five (short) hours with our deep-V boat and I was intent on sending him back for dad’s.  There was no way I could move or crawl up on the bank back to the tents so there was no way I was crawling up into a boat with my ankle dangling.

Soon, I began to shiver…just a little at first, goosebumps, and then some violent shivering.  Hypothermia was setting in from laying so long on the wet sand coupled with the strong breeze and wet clothing.  Did I mention the nifty “Y” shaped stick I found to prop up my leg?  I lifted it out of the sand and dragged myself up the bank using my elbows and one good leg to reach a patch of tall grass and reeds.  They made a great blanket as I picked and wove them to cover my body and got the ‘ol leg propped back up on the stick.

Back at the cabin…how I spent my summer vacation!

Then he saw me.  Woody glided the boat to shore and instantly sprang into action.  I’m waving my hands and telling him not to worry and that I’ve got things all figured out.  He runs up to his tent, grabs his sleeping bag, and throws it over me.  Then my handy, awesome brother gathers two long, flat pieces of driftwood and some duct tape to construct a makeshift splint.  He springs back into his ride and blasts out of there as I’m yelling, “Tell Dad to get his van ready at the far boat launch so I can crawl into it.”

My day ended as you might suspect:  emergency room, x-rays, and glorious medications.   Doctor’s orders were to get to an orthopedic surgeon the next morning.  Diagnosis:  broken heel and small broken ankle bone.  Snap-Snap.






Juice Pops

Dear Ben and Jerry,

It has been great over the years, but we’re through. You didn’t do anything wrong, it is me that has changed. I’ve been growing. I’m all done looking at a pint of ice cream and gaining ten pounds. It’s been real and it’s been fun, but it hasn’t been real fun–my pants don’t fit.

I’ve found someone new.  Mr. Juicer.   No more hiding out in a closet for a quickie. I’m going green (and red, and orange, and purple) with frozen juice pops!   These cold, sweet treats are full of nutrients and fun.  Admit it, I get points for using nutrients and fun in the same sentence.

Pass the Pineapple, Cherry, & Orange

My new favorite summer treat to make is homemade frozen fruit juice pops. Throw in a big carrot for good measure. Get yourself a lean, mean juicing machine and create new combinations all you want, guilt free.

I have to thank my cousin, Sandy, for introducing us.  She told me Mr. Juicer was interested in experimenting and would work with the touch of a button.   Now I make my own Cherry Garcia using my own cherries from the trees on our farm.  Our side yard has a mature grape vine that is loaded with seedless green grapes.  The strawberries and raspberries have already come in.   My pear tree is producing and I see blueberry bushes in my future this fall.

Just looking at these pops gets me excited.  “I’ll take two.”

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