The Neighbors

Denny Ray is one of the saints around here. Perhaps it was the mid 80s he was a member here and was the equipment maintenance manager. It is a bit hard to describe how much of a headache this job is. We have a huge campus, with all kinds of dishwashers and compressors and refrigerators and generators and food processing equipment and gas and electric systems.  We also have dozens of people trying to operate equipment that they are unfamiliar with, sometimes with insufficient (or no) training.  Something is broken all the time.

Because Denny is so good with all of these different machines he has saved the community a fortune. Not just because he does not charge us half the time and when he does charge us he bills half what he should. Not just because he basically forced us to shift gas companies which saved us over $10K in the first year.  No you can’t just be handy or thrifty to get saint status in community land, it is a much higher bar.

One of the ways Denny also helps is by watching the neighborhood. By doing the networking and community relations work which Twin Oaks ought to make labor creditable, but largely does not.  Sometimes this appears in the form of a go cart or rocking horse, delivered triumphantly by a guy who looks like Santa on a diet. Most recently it has shown up as pears.

Our courtyard has a beautiful pear tree that Hildegard has organized with a bucket for fallen or eaten pears and two different length bamboo grabber sticks. These sticks are so simple, yet very effective at grabbing high pears with minimal impact on the area the pear was in before grabbing. You may need to let them ripen a bit after falling, but they are pretty tasty pears.

Micha's wonderful picture of Pears in the ZK basement

Denny saw the sister trees to our on land right off W. Old Mountain Road which is our back door to the conference site. They were full of pears and Denny knew that the woman who owned the house had died. So Denny started walking down the street trying to find out who the caretaker for that house was and ultimately discovered that it was Tommy Mullins.

Tommy is perhaps sixty, small stature, bad teeth and a charming personality. Denny escorts us in to his compact home which is bursting with his hospitality. And this is in part clear because he has felt great generosity from the community over the years. Last year i knew that Keenan took surplus watermelons and gave them to our neighbors. Tommy got a couple. That was a big hit.

But an even bigger hit was apparently at some point, some enterprising member gave and installed a hammock for Tommy. We beat out god for the top spot in Tommy’s favorite things list.  So Tommy is all about giving Twin Oaks the pears from these handful of  trees.

New member Tony honched a crew of a dozen or so Oakers and guests who descended on these trees like the proverbial locust.  We were climbing and shaking trees, picking and gathering and in the end we had boxes upon boxes of pears.  Which we are cleaning and processing and will no doubt end up as a couple of pies each for our generous neighbors, Mr Mullins and Saint Denny Ray.

Saint Denny Ray at Twin Oaks 2010 - photo by Micha Engelhardt

About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

6 responses to “The Neighbors”

  1. Rachelle says :

    Fantastic – pears are one of my favorites to eat. Too bad it wouldn’t be practical to make preserves or jam – it’d taste so good, and it was the first thing that came to mind.

  2. Sean Peters says :

    Not sure about jam, but you can certainly make pear butter out of them. Essentially, you just cut up the pears (no need to peel or core them), cook in some water or apple juice with a little vinegar added until they’re soft. Run the pears through a food mill, then add sugar and spices, then return to a pot and cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until the stuff is thickened and browned. Then can.

    You can also just can them as pear halves in light syrup, although I like the pear butter better.

  3. paxus says :

    Me have already made what is the pear equivalent of apple sause. Maggie and Sunshine and Drea and someone i am forgetting have been helping move this large qnuantity of stuff. But the pear sause is quite jam-lite like.

  4. anissa says :

    ’bout time denny got sainted…

  5. Brian Adler says :

    Great story!

  6. lillian says :

    Agreed, great story! Great photos too.

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