Thursday, August 30, 2007

There’s Something About Fruits (California Dreamin')

Una Tuna y Unos Higos (California Dreamin')
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

There’s Something About Fruits
(California Dreamin’)

I love fruits.

They are clearly nature’s ambrosia. If I had to diet and limit it to one type of food, I would do it with fruits.

Eve did it with a fruit. It wasn’t a banana though.

I happen to live and love living in the “Big Apple.”

The popularity of this moniker for New York City is attributed to a 1970s promotional campaign by the New York Convention and Visitor's Bureau. According to the New-York Historical Society it was first popularized by John Fitz Gerald, who used it in his horse racing column for the New York Morning Telegraph during the 1920s. He credited African-American stable-hands working at horseracing tracks in New Orleans, having overheard one say, "The Big Apple. The dream of every lad that ever threw a leg over a thoroughbred and the goal of all horsemen. There's only one Big Apple. That's New York.''

My mother claims that I like tunas—otherwise known cactus pears or prickly pears in English and higo chumbos and higuera chumbas in Spanish—because she had a great craving for them when she was pregnant with me. Being that I do love them so, it is hard for me to refute this old wives tale.

I also happen to love figs. And figs also happen to be called higos, like cactus pears, in Spanish.

When I was growing up, for a couple years between 2nd and 4th grade, we lived in The McEvoy House, a beautiful home with gorgeously detailed wood floors and paneling everywhere. It was endearingly called The McEvoy House because it was once located on McEvoy Street, but now it only exists as part of my fond childhood memories.

Next door to the McEvoy house, was an empty lot, the old and dilapidated frame of a wood garage and a giant fig tree. I loved climbing that giving tree and often ate gobble-fulls of its utterly delicious, highly sensuous pink and purple fruit.

My friend Marcos and I used to hang out behind the tree in the shadow of the neighbor’s fence. At least, until we got caught being naughty.

We had been experimenting with pilfered cigarettes that I had taken from my Uncle Samuel’s stash and one day my neighbor Frank happened to look over the fence and find us smoking. I was probably only in third grade.

Frank happened to work for my father and eventually was regarded as part of our family. So he approached him and then—my father approached me. Surprisingly, I didn’t get the belt. No, I got much worse. For I had to apologize to my Uncle in person. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of growing up and it left an incredibly indelible impression upon me; one that persuaded me to never smoke again until I got into grad school when I was 24. But even then, I only smoked Indonesian cloves, and weed for the first time. To this day, I haven’t smoked a tobacco cigarette since third grade.

After that fateful day, we didn’t hang out much around the big ol’ fig tree anymore, and so I didn’t eat much of its fruit for years to come, because the very next year we moved to a bigger house with almond and walnut trees in the backyard.

That is one thing I eventually noticed after moving out East to New York, and New Jersey for a stint—there ain’t no fruit trees out here. In California it is rather common to have your own fruit trees around your home. Our neighbor’s had lemons, my mother eventually planted an orange tree and my father’s house has an overflowing grapefruit tree.

Perhaps than, having grown up surrounded by fruit, it is no surprise that I love them so.

The feeling is akin to what I feel about the sun, and why I believe that I am endowed with such a sunny disposition today. Apparently, growing up in California can do that to you. For it really is as wonderful as people proclaim it to be, and much like that ol’ fig tree—I miss it so.

All the leaves are brown
And the sky is gray.
I've been for a walk
On a winter's day.

I'd be safe and warm
if I was in L.A.
California dreamin'
on such a winter's day.

Stopped in to a church I passed along the way.
Well I got down on my knees
And I pretend to pray.
You know the preacher like t've croaked.
He knows I'm gonna stay.
California dreamin'
on such a winter's day.

California Dreamin' by The Mamas & the Papas —

Note: Inspired by Michelle's home sickness for California, California Dreamin' was written in 1963 by John and Michelle Phillips while they were living in New York.

Other appealing musings:

Just A Little More Wonderful

Please Have One

Vive L'Orange!

Orange Tears

The Orange Skirt and Her Entourage

What is Most Appealing

Her Orange Shoes

Appealing To Her

Una Tuna y Unos Higos (California Dreamin')

Crimson Divine

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