The last time I saw a papaya, I was in my grandmother's garden, on my first day in Australia. I was looking over the Brisbane River, watching pelicans land. I was five and a half years old, had just spent three days on planes (this was prior to jet engines), I had crossed the international date line and I was missing my father and my cat - who were home in the states. So many strange, fragrant colorful things I was seeing for the first time: frangipani, poinsettas in a hedge as tall as the house, kookaburras, funny cars, palm trees, houses without heaters or frig's.
So when I was in Wegman's fruit section last Sunday (fighting off the usual anxiety attack that grocery stores evoke since Charles died) and in front of me was a huge green blob labeled PAPAYA, I had to buy it. I seemed to remember that they were a color other than green in that garden, and I don't remember them being so big, and it seemed unusually firm for a melony fruit. The grocery store anxiety attack usually takes on mindless flinging of crapedoodle into a cart, rushed careening down the aisles trying to remember what I need (toothpaste? dishwashing liquid?) and decisions involving food that won't look lonely when cooked in pans too big for dinner for one. So, I was pretty sure I didn't need a papaya, but it was big enough to not look silly, and of course, I could corner my grandchildren in the kitchen and tell them why the papaya was important to me while DIL and Son rolled their eyes. A family moment, in a fruit! What more could you ask for?
At home, I decided it needed a few days to ripen, and then got distracted by...well, going to New York, etc. So this morning, I gave it a feel-up, it was noticeably softer and had turned a spottled orange. I was going to slice that thing open and eat a MEMORY!
And take photos.
And blog it. Cause that is who I am now - a blogging, exotic fruit eating Sunday lounger!
Well, either I let this sucker ripen much too much OR when I was a kid my tastebuds were so bored by red delicious apples and the occasional strawberry, but it was a little disappointing.
Sort of like sweet, soft pumpkin. Not inspiring. Which left me with the feeling that memories, of fruit or otherwise, are probably best savored fresh and in your mind, rather than physically recreated on a cold kitchen counter thousands of miles and decades from the original moment. I think I will go scramble some eggs. I wonder if goats will eat papaya?
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Friends of the Rodeo Princess
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