Every time I visit my parents, my mother hands me a bag of food on the way to the door – like I’m hopping on a bike to deliver an order. Usually, it’s leftovers in a plastic container, taped shut, wrapped in foil, in a paper bag, in a plastic bag with the handles tied shut. You should hope your donation kidney is packaged with such care. Topped with some Tate’s Cookies, a deep cut from the freezer, something weird a friend gave them in a gift basket… you get the idea.
And the tangerines. Always the tangerines. My parents accumulate tangerines like they’re running a Harry & David outlet. I’ve lived on my own for 25 years and do you know how many tangerines I’ve bought for myself? ZERO. None. Not a single fruit, neither a bushel nor a basket. I’ve purchased grapefruits, oranges, blood oranges, kiwis, lemons, limes, starfruit, even the tragically named Uglifruit (which also goes by Jamaican Tangelo and Uniq fruit – yeah, nice try, ugli!).
I’ve eaten mangos, papayas, cherimoyas, persimmons, lychees, passionfruit (wasn’t crazy about it), Bartlett pears, bosc pears, anjou pears, asian pears (RACIST), comice pears, longans, plums, bananas, berries, melons, and mangosteens. Apples like Granny Smiths (AGEIST), Pink Lady (also racist against Asians), Macs and Galas, Honeycrisps, Fuji (again with the Asians). Tamarillos, tamarinds, tamaratitas (OK I made that one up), medjool dates and Turkish figs, and black mission figs on a mission so dark & secret they’d have to kill you after.
I’ve eaten all of these and never once thought, “Better get a cart, not a basket. It’s tangerine season.”
It’s always tangerine season at Casa DeVito, in the most tropical area of Northwestern Connecticut. Mom & dad give them to me as if years ago I planted a tangerine tree in the yard and now I’m denying paternity. I won’t get away with that. And thinking I can only see these tangerines on a quick holiday visit? Nice try.
“Take these with you. These are your children. They are yours.”
I’m just one man, but today I will eat a tangerine at every meal. The Tate’s Cookies are already gone.