The Great Pineapple Caper

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Security cameras caught one of the “perpetrators” of the pineapple delivery at Saint Bernard.

It started as a fun prank: silently deliver a pineapple to the doorstep of a friend to see what would happen. After all, the community had just survived the first blizzard of 2018 and people were going a little stir crazy and a little bit frustrated that they didn’t receive their mail for several days. Some were still plowed in. So a little prank to make people smile was in order.

No one saw ahead of time the reaction to this simple act of cheer. But nowadays through social media, all kinds of speculations were being circulated throughout the neighborhood. There were those who were afraid of the pineapples. “Should we call the police?” “We went out the back door instead of the front door because we weren’t sure if the pineapple was dangerous.” “It looked good to eat, but I’m not taking any chances, since I didn’t know where it came from.”

Someone heard that the pineapple-on-the-doorstep was an invitation to join a “swingers club” and that speculation led to lots of jokes and some consternation. And others were starting to get jealous that there was no “drive-by fruiting” at their home. People started to get creative and photographed other fruits and vegetables on their doorsteps. One person suggested that everyone who got something on their doorstep ought to get together with all the ingredients for a neighborhood party.

Things were going well with the Great Pineapple Caper. It was lifting people’s spirits, creating a lot of laughs, and despite some conspiracy theorists, it got the community enjoying each other in the midst of the single digit freeze.

But all was not right in town. Some community members came across a 90 year old man named “Frank” who had been snowed in without adequate food. They quickly cleared the path to his house and started providing him with meals and some friendly support. And of course there are a number of elderly living among us who have no family and have little recourse in the face of harsh winter conditions. In many cases, neighbors took them under their care. But sometimes in the midst of our own worries about frozen pipes and kid’s getting the flu, we hope the neighbors can fend for themselves.

But a pineapple on the doorstep can bring us beyond our own concerns and the group of friends who started blessing the community with pineapples realized that they could turn their fun activity into an opportunity to get a community to grow in their care for those in need.

They decided to finish doling out pineapples with a letter to the community that explained their hopes. Let me quote the letter here:

“Dear Community,
The PINEAPPLE is known in many cultures as a symbol of those
intangible assets that we appreciate in our homes and community:
warmth, welcome, friendship and hospitality. All things that our
community greatly represents.

The Pineapple Caper was created to bring our community together
during a time of weakness. Many people were affected by the blizzard
we just had, whether it was through not receiving their mail, not being
plowed out in a reasonable time, or many other things that many
deemed a nuisance. Those are all things that we take for granted.
BUT….there is a GENTLEMAN in our community that is in need of a lot
more than just getting his mail on time.

Frank was recently snowed in his house for a few days without food.
Our community has begun to come together to help Frank. Let’s
continue that. Please take the enthusiasm that the pineapple caper has created, and please put your effort into showing Frank, and others in the same kind of situation, the true meaning of the pineapple…warmth, friendship, welcome and hospitality.

In the coming days, there will be many posts about bringing our
community closer together and helping those in need.

All the best,
The Great Pineapple Caper

So in case you were wondering about the preponderance of tropical fruit in the neighborhood, now you know.

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Pastor of St. Bernard's since 2013 and known for his engaging homilies and community presence, Father Ralph Sommer is also a treasured columnist for the Levittown Tribune.

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