I am trying to regard it as one of the blessings of this summer that I have not yet had a bad peach.
Given war, natural disasters, the collapse of various financial markets, deaths, and anxiety, it doesn’t seem like much of a blessing, but I’m trying to think of it that way.
And these have been just ordinary grocery store peaches, not the wonderful ones that I bought thirty pounds of a few years back that were selling from a roadside stand. These have just been on sale at the grocery store for $1.49 a pound, and I get a few every time I go, and they’ve all been good.
I never used to like summer much — school was out, which many people liked, but as school was something I was good at and summer activities were mostly things I was not good at, I sort of missed it. Fresh fruit was sort of my consolation prize for summer. It was hot and muggy and people were forever telling you to go play outside, where it was even more hot and muggy, but you got fresh peaches, and strawberries and blueberries and cherries and plums and melons and even mulberries, which are not really very good but which I ate in large quantities because we always seemed to have a mulberry tree in our yard.
I was a late-comer to cherries. I’d always thought I didn’t like them, since I never liked anything cherry flavored. Then the summer we were fourteen I stayed for a week in New Jersey with my oldest friend, who was living there with some family friends for the summer. We went into New York City almost every day, and when we got out of the train station, we’d walk along until we found a fruit vendor, and Sara would say, “We’d like a pound of cherries, please.” Then we walked along the streets of Manhattan, eating cherries out of a brown paper bag and spitting the pits into the gutters. We’d walk and eat until we’d finished the pound, and then, more often than not, we’d happen upon another fruit vendor and say, “We’d like a pound of cherries, please.”
I don’t eat cherries in quite that kind of quantity anymore, but as soon as I see them in the supermarket, I buy some (and then, because I am old, I take them home and wash them and put the pits I’ve spat out into the garbage can) and think about being fourteen and fifteen and seeing New York for the very first time.
So on days like today when the world seems to be not too great, which is how it generally seemed all the time when I was in high school, I am trying to be thankful for fruit.