Thursday, February 10, 2011

whenever i think about grapefruit, i think of mother lib.


several things always stand out to me when i think back to when i was younger and my family and i would visit my grandparents in boone, north carolina. one specifically is the way my grandmother, mother lib, always made breakfast for us. she and my grandfather, daddy jim, were the early-to-rise types (my mom, brother, and me on the other hand, are not).

i would always wake up and walk down their hallway to the kitchen, where no doubt, daddy jim was sitting in his usual chair closest to the stove, reading the newspaper or a magazine, eating his breakfast. mother lib would have already eaten her breakfast and would be starting on mine. i remember always being so excited because she was so enthusiastic about breakfasts, and would act like i'd made the best possible decision no matter what i chose. scrambled eggs, sunny-side-up (which was really exciting because i didn't know how to make them on my own), sausage links, sausage patties, peanut butter toast, or her special concoction she called "bananas, sugar, and cream tra-la," (which is exactly what it sounds like: bananas in milk, with a pinch of sugar sprinkled on top). no matter what i chose, she made me feel like i was the best breakfast-decision maker in the world. and always on the side, she'd give my brother and me an orange or grapefruit.

now, try as i might, i just did not like grapefruit when i was little. they were too sour for me, so i always stuck to the oranges. every now and then, though, i would ask her for one, because i really wanted to like them, if for no other reason than because my brother loved them and because they came from her. but the thing was, mother lib didn't just hand us a grapefruit and leave us to our own devices. she took her time with them: she would halve them, use a grapefruit knife to cut the fruit away from the skin, then section them, and serve with a grapefruit spoon. she took care of all the fuss, so we could enjoy all the tart frills.

now before i flash forward to the present, let me just add that my brother and i always love to talk about the fact that every single christmas, we would arrive at their house in boone and take stock of the fruit in the kitchen. because without fail, when christmas morning came, included in our stockings would be several pieces of fruit: oranges, apples, and grapefruit. which we would then turn around and enjoy for christmas breakfast. who did santa think he was, stealing from the homes he gifted?!

cut to: present day. at some point in the last 15-20 years, i stared liking grapefruit, and sometime around this past christmas, i had a craving for one. well, that craving still hasn't gone away, and i've been enjoying 3-4 grapefruits a week since. the funny thing is, this past weekend while i was in maine, i was hanging out with my sister-in-law priscilla when my brother came in and announced he was going to have his nightly bedtime snack. priscilla asked him if he was going to have his usual 3 grapefruits. 3! sure enough, he halves them, cuts them out, sections them, and eats them with a grapefruit spoon. but what he does is puts each grapefruit half in a bowl, so he ends up carrying a tray with 6 bowls of grapefruit. i really should have taken a photo, but i'm a dingbat. apologies.

anyway, my brother asked me if i remembered mother lib's grapefruit, and how perfect they were. i think what must have happened is that sometime around christmas, we both thought back on our grapefruit memories with mother lib and each got a hankering. so strange. matthew is well equipped with a special sectioning knife (that has double blades which cut on each side of the seams) and grapefruit spoon, and commented that i need to get one of my own. so i did. last night on amazon.com. it's my valentine's gift to myself, because i have a lot of sentimental love for grapefruits.

so, mother lib, thank you for my valentine's gift, and thank you for the grapefruit.

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