One of the perks of being home last weekend was the absolute abundance of mangoes pouring off my grandmother’s tree. Plump, bright, fragrant, and perfectly ripe, begging to be eaten. Every surface of my grandmother’s house is covered in mangoes — from the slab in her garage to her counter-tops and kitchen table — literally dozens upon dozens of mangoes.
I love mangoes. My grandmother bakes them into bread, my aunt morphs them into jelly, and my dad blends them into daiquiris. They’re delicious and addictive every way.
I brought a big load home and shared them with friends and family. Something tells me sweet, juicy mango flesh is being enjoyed for breakfast across the DC metro area this week. YUM.
Three things I learned from my grandmother yesterday:
1. My great-grandmother and -grandfather used to brew booze during Prohibition. The giant stainless steel vats were as tall as my grandmother, and much wider. (This isn’t hard to do; the woman is tiny.) The barrels were kept in the basement of the general store her parents ran. One day they were caught by the Feds and everything was tipped out into the street in front of the store, deliberately making a scene and shaming my family. My grandmother says it was her mother’s most embarrassing day of her life. And we wonder where the lush genes come from.
2. My great-grandfather drove to Washington to watch FDR be inaugurated. Holy shitballs. How cool is that?!
3. The woman does not like Peeps. Criminal. “Marshmallows? No. NO! I don’t like them. No! I don’t care if they are sky blue. I DO NOT LIKE MARSHMALLOWS!” Ok lady, we get it. No Peeps for you. Easy killer.
My grandmother likes trees, plants, flowers, fruit — anything she spots growing in its natural habitat. We take daily walks together and she’s always commenting on or asking after various blossoms we pass. I make sure to ask her questions too, because good lord that woman has a wealth of unusual knowledge. This was our exchange today:
Me: “What kind of a tree is that?”
Grama: “That one back there is mango.”
Me: “I know, but this one. What kind of tree is this one?”
Grama: “It’s a tree! A plain old regular tree! Jeepers.”