Fruit. It’s happening all over Southern California right now. The bananas, admittedly, are imports, but the fabulous plums are from Momalisa’s back yard. She brought in a bowlful. I snagged all the ones that hadn’t been eaten yet. Two never made it out of the car. She said she’d bring in more today, for those who are slower to beg for backyard fruit.
Speaking of fruit, here’s an email my cousin Bells sent me and graciously allowed me to share with you. (Bells, because of the earrings with tiers of tiny red bells on them that you wore to Thanksgiving dinner when you came home from New York City for the holidays, thus securing my cousinly adoration of you for all time.)
“I really enjoy the pictures and your comments, but I have to laugh at how different we are. You take the time to take the perfect photo of plums, or a pretty plant or tree. I, on the other hand have nowhere near your patience. When we first moved into our house we had a lemon tree and a grapefruit tree which I subsequently chopped down. The grapefruit tree had just too many grapefruit. Indiana has zucchini and FL has grapefruit. I picked them, ate them, squeezed them, froze them, tried to give them away. But every day for six months of the year I would have to come home and pick up grapefruit off the ground to avoid a big squishy mess – and also fruit rats that loved them. So, down it came.
“The lemon tree was evil. It tried to kill me several times. I hated that tree and it hated me. It would poke me with its branches and get tangled and stuck in my hair, it would prick me with it’s thorns and trip me with it’s roots. “Off with its head!” said the Queen, and down it came. Long after it was down I would occasionally trip over a root that had popped up or step on a leftover thorn. Dang tree!
“We must get it from our Mothers. I can remember your Mom and Grandma walking all around Grandma’s house looking at each plant. My Mother sat on the stoop, completely uninterested, and waited for them to finish.
“Which is not to say I hate all trees. I loved Spike – really loved him. He was a big, beautiful Seagrape tree in my yard. Your mother drew his portrait for me. Anyway, a few years ago he had him “trimmed”. When I got home the guy had cut practically all the branches off. He looked like – a spike. I cried and cried. I put my arms around him and begged him to grow. My neighbors called and told me to stop hugging my tree because it was scaring people at the park. Finally I promised Spike that he grew I would put all the Christmas lights on him – none on any other tree or any of the house. Sure enough by December he was almost back to his old self and I put hundreds of lights on him. He was beautiful. I used to lean against and listen to him talk.
“Two years ago during Hurricane Katrina I was in the kitchen and heard a kind of whooshing sound. As I looked up Spike slowly and gently bent and fell. Actually he kind of wrapped himself around my house – he was huge. Some branches touched my windows and when I stepped out of my kitchen door he had formed a little tiny room with his branches. I considered it a final hug. For three days I put a chair on my front stoop and sat in what had been the tip-top of Spike. K crawled under him and rescued two baby birds. My cats played in the branches. Then people came and cut him up.
“G, M’s wife [Bells’ brother], makes walking sticks for her friends. She goes into the woods, finds just the right stick then rubs them and treats them and decorates them according to who she is giving it to. Sometimes she carves it, or paints it, or glues fake jewels onto it. Anyway, I picked a piece of Spike to be my walking stick when I need it. When G comes I will give it to her to work on.”
Isn’t that just beautiful? Aren’t I lucky to be in this family?