You learn something new every day. I dare you to ask yourself this question. You might be surprised by your answer. You might also learn something about yourself you never really thought about before.
Today, as I entered the supermarket on a daily run, I had the most ridiculous thought. I was still thinking about Papa and the story I told you about how he reminded me of Nelson Mandela. I have a good story about Nana to share but I am not sure if I am ready just yet. Still thinking about Papa and his beautiful memory. Then I thought to myself, if I were a fruit, what would I be? Tough choice for anyone to make. What a silly question. Told you. I stood there and thought about it. Then I walked though the produce aisles. A Mango? A Pineapple? A Pomegranate? Then I stopped at the oranges. Aha! Well of course. What a fool I am. I’m an orange.
I love anything sour, like limes and lemons. A Rum Punch, a Bentley and lemonade are liquid gold in my humble opinion. I also love anything citrus and sweet, like tangerines, clementines, shaddock, pink grapefruits. You could argue that oranges are the middle ground. Hello! Could they possibly be the best of both worlds? They can sometimes be sour if you catch them at a bad time, but mostly, they are sweet. Versatile too. You can drink them, cook with them, the sky’s the limit once you put your mind to it. A bit like my own personality in a way. We can’t always be sweet. That would be so boring.
Then I remembered Papa’s family owned a piece of property in Clarendon, Jamaica. It was in an area known as Orange River Pen. I remember visiting Orange River when we lived there when I was 10. It was there that we met Zoe, Papa’s sister. What a beautiful soul. She looked like a miniature girl Papa which I thought was very extraordinary. She was a very tiny woman. A detail I was fascinated by for some unknown reason. She shared the same grace in her eyes and quiet reverence as Papa. Even as a 10 year old, I could see it. As one might imagine, the family grew oranges there and Papa used to bring back a box every time he visited Jamaica. These oranges were the best oranges my little person could ever imagine. Or eat. I can still remember just how delicious they tasted. I also remember how Papa gave them to us.
Papa would peel the oranges in a very particular way. You were only allowed to eat oranges one way at Tremont, my grandparents home in Barbados. He would choose a small sharp paring knife and sit at the kitchen table. He would always start at the top where the stem grew from. First he would make a small slice across, almost going right through. But then magically, the knife would make a slight pivot and start around the edge of the orange in a slow, methodical, spiral direction. Meticulously, Papa would peel just enough skin to expose the rind. Rarely did he go beyond the rind to show the fruit inside. As the spiral would make its way to the bottom of the orange, he would repeat his first cut but this time, go right through the base of the orange to leave the entire fruit white. A quick slice through the middle horizontally and then the two beautiful orange juicy sides would emerge. If seeds were visible, Papa would remove them carefully not to disrupt the beauty of the orange.
If Papa was able to remove the entire orange peel with everything in tact, Nana would say: “Aye. You get a new dress!”. Meaning it was good luck. Good fortune. It always made me and my sister giggle.
Right. Back to the present. An orange I am. Now all I need to do is take a picture of the pile. But the produce stickers were spoiling the shot. In my estimation at least. It’s not like I was expecting them to come from Jamaica. So I started to turn a few of the oranges around to hide the stickers from the shot. When I got the picture I thought I wanted (above) I looked closer. That’s when I noticed where the oranges came from. South Africa. Home to none other than Mr. Nelson Mandela. Isn’t that sweet?