January 11, 2012
A ripe pineapple (Ananas comosus)

The pineapple has traditionally been associated as a symbol of welcome and hospitality throughout the United States and especially in Virginia. The pineapple motif was frequently used in furniture and decor of the 18th Century.

The great Clipper ships and merchant vessels of colonial days would return from their voyages bearing exotic fruits from the West Indies. Legend has it that Captains and sailors alike would display a pineapple over their door as a sign to their friends and neighbors that they had returned home safely and that visitors were welcome once they had time with their families.

So, why do I collect pineapples? I’m going to try to write this answer without being disrespectful to my in-laws or my parents. I have shared this story–with them even–so I feel it is not something to hide. I just have to be respectful about it.

ARGH! There really is no way of retelling this story without the possibility of offense. And given that the Law of Unintended Consequence is way ahead of me in this battle, I need to cut my losses. I had DH read what had been posted for 20 minutes. “Well, if she’s not going to see it, it isn’t a problem. Are you going to worry about it all the time? Why risk breaking something that is fixed?” So here I am, editing this answer down after I just spent three hours writing over 1,000 words.

The cute, simple answer is that I am carrying on the maritime tradition. All of our friends and family know that figuratively “the pineapples are down” for the first 24 hours at a minimum for the girls and I to have time with DH when he returns.

I will say this, as you will see at the end of tomorrow’s post, that I do not take pineapples or the meaning lightly. If you were invited into the home just after the sailor returned it meant you were as close as family. There were several friends in my life this year that earned that distinction (though I’m grateful none of them barged in until invited!).

I’ll file the original post away and let the girls publish it in a tell-all book after I’m gone. That way they can get some money to pay for the therapy they’ll need.



  1. Okay, I’m totally confused. Are hiding a story that would offend your in-laws or one that would embarrass your children?

    • definitely offend my in-laws but I have other fodder for the children so this will just get filed in there and I won’t have to deal with any fall out.

  2. It is hard when you want to share intimate stuff but then question whether you should. I think it is good that you wrote it down and saved it for later. At least it won’t go to waste! And I had heard that about pineapples … I love how the “pineapples are down” when a sailor returns from sea. That makes a lot of sense!

    • I think the big thing is that even though it is a true story and there is value in it and some good advice, it would paint some really lovely people in a bad light. I would hate for people to say to them “did you really say/do that? wow, your daughter-in-law must hold a serious grudge!” (Which I do not). I’d hate to hurt them like that, in-laws or parents, because then there would be no value even to me to learn from the tale.

  3. […] Pineapples (snipewife.wordpress.com) Rate this: Share this:FacebookEmailPrintStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  4. […] you enter the home, you will notice the wife’s love of pineapples and their maritime connection. She removes most of them for her Christmas decorations. The […]

  5. […] Maybe on the day the Chief retires I should have one of these on our lawn? 🙂 Related article: Pineapples Front Door Candlelight Tour Part […]

  6. […] first, or at least give us the common courtesy of checking with us first. (See my posts about the Pineapples.) It really wasn’t until about both girls were born and we had moved south that the Chief and […]

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