Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Sweet Memories....

When March and April roll around, it reminds me of the strawberry fields in Tustin, on the Irvine Ranch...to me, strawberries always meant Valentines Day, and the asparagus meant that Easter was coming. It is still so weird to me, even after twenty years of living in northeast Kansas, to not have things greening up in February and March. Out here, the fields and trees are just as bleak and depressing as ever, but by now, OC hills and fields are covered in blankets of bright green, trees are budding up, and the air was at its best in the spring, alive with the scents of fresh new growth. As you would drive through the Irvine lands, the strawberry fields would be a beautiful pthalo green, with splashes of deep red where boxes of picked strawberries sat in the rows, and through the windows would come the scent of the orange blossoms from the groves on the other side of the fields. Even better would be the taste/scent of the wind after a spring rain, with the tang of the eucalyptus trees added to the perfume....

When I grew up in southern California, most folk had trees in their yards left over from the orchards that were there. And avocados were so ubiquitus that people had trouble getting rid of them...it was common to see a tv tray table out on a curb with a sign taped to it, '25 cents a bag', loaded and surrounded with paper shopping bags full of 'cados. And kid got in trouble for using them for bombs on each other....not for wasting food, but because you could hurt someone with them or wreck their clothes! ( too hard, it could be like a throwing a rock, too mushy was a double whammy of mushy 'cado all over you plus the hard seed inside. Moms did not dig having to get oily 'cado off kids clothes.)

But it could always be worse...one time I was at the mission San Juan Capistrano, early one morning before the front gate was open, and two friends and I were picking pomegranates for the pastor. So we had Miguel up on top of a pillar that had a tree leaning on it, Ursala there to catch them as he dropped them to her, and me to pack into bags. We were doing just fine, til

'Hey, what do you kids think you are doing!?!'

SPLAT! There went two huge poms, all over the adobe tiles, as we all started, and found one of the Sisters staring at us in her best Disapproving Rabbit style. She didn't know we had permission, and it seems that Miguel had a history of raiding the trees anyway, so she didn't buy our telling her that Msgr. Russell had asked us for this. Or that we hadn't made the mess of splattered poms just because it was a spectacular sight (much like punkin splashing, but more vivid, with the gelatinous red and seeds). So it kind of put a damper on our fun...we cleaned up the mess of course, and rolled up the bags to take to the rectory, then went to Mass.

...but that splashed pom *did* look so cool, didn't it!

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