A former San Antonio Symphony violinist, Andrew Ehrlich, had moved to Oregon but came back to Texas for a visit, during which he stayed with us. Some time after he left, a box of pears, with no card to indicate who had sent it but with a coded message that when deciphered read "TO: A WONDERFUL 'PEAR'," was delivered to our house. After some time, we figured out they were from Andrew. . . . Meanwhile, we found a pair of Andrew's underwear in the guest room where he had stayed, so I suggested that that "pair" of "Fruit" of the Loom briefs was intended as a clue to who sent the "pears"!

To Andrew, Two (1996)

At our humble abode on Green Creek,
You stayed with us nearly a week.
Now that you’re home,
We’re writing this pome,
Since rhyme, don’t you know, is très chic.

You played Arvo, Robert, and John
With elegance, flair, and elan;
Then followed directions
(With minor corrections)
To a feast of smoked fowl and steamed prawn.

You were an exemplary guest:
You always cleaned up where you messed;
You bought your own food;
Hardly ever were rude;
Bade adieu ere you winged your way west.

Your presence alone made us glad,
But presents as well you did add!
A framed shot, we can boast,
Of the Oregon coast
Will soon grace a wall of our pad.

Then appeared a great box, quite mysterious,
On our porch, ‘twixt the phlox and wisterias.
Return address: Orchard.
Curiosity tortured
Us. Now we were getting delirious.

Cryptic words we descried on that label.
We brought it to our kitchen table;
We shed blood, tears, and sweat—
But its match it had met.
As cryptologists we had proved able.

Shouted we: “Andrew’s poor derriere,
To be bare as winds blare frigid air!”
So we found in your room
The “Fruit” of the Loom
It referred TO: A WONDERFUL “PEAR.”

And two years later, we found a pair of goggles in that same guest room. We eventually figured out Andrew had also left those behind!


The very thought boggles
The mind: Why would goggles
Appear underneath our spare bed?

Explanations fell flat
As the two of us sat,
Collectively scratching our head.

But towards one theory
The evidence started to grow.

Then: “We’ve got it, by gum!
Herr Andrew had swum
When he stayed with us here long ago.

“We reject ‘Finders, keepers’!
Not for us purloined peepers!
For years we’ve been holding them hostage.

“‘Twas Andrew who wore ‘em!”
Thus ended our forum
And started our hunt for big postage.*

* We poets refer to this device as “visual rhyme.”