I am a borderline recluse. Yet, even I am getting tired of staying at home. The pandemic continues. The political strife is depressing. Then a supersonic heat wave causes horrific lightning strikes sparking fires, threatening all of us, once again. Enough already.

Gabriel Fraire 2017 Sept

Gabriel Fraire

I feel like the little old lady who once told me, “They say God never gives you more than you can handle. I just think that sometimes He confuses me with someone else.”

We are all worn out. Be nice to yourself and others. Despite all, we are so blessed to live here.

I recently ate a local peach that was so sweet I wanted to gulp it in one swallow, put a silly grin on my face and spit out the pit; which made me think of some fresh plums a neighbor brought by.

I like to let plums sit until they get soft and mushy. Then I pop the whole mushy gooey treat into my mouth.

A buddy left three bags of grapefruit on the porch. These fresh from his tree grapefruits are so juicy I can squeeze them by hand for a nice morning juice jolt (or evening cocktail).

Anyone with a garden or who knows someone with a garden has had plenty of fresh zucchini. We have also had a yard full of Swiss Chard, scallions, peppers, red onions, lettuce and, of course, tomatoes.

We know “farm to table.” I like “plant to mouth.” I grew up in an industrial city. My uncle was the only one I knew who had a garden. He’d say, “Go ahead, go get a tomato.” I was eight- maybe 10-years-old, the sun was always hot. I would feel around for a ripe one, give a little twist and off it came into my hand. I little wipe with the other hand and into the mouth. The tiny little seeds too small to even chew mixed in with the warm tomato juice filled my mouth with good tastes and now good memories.

I have also had some very nice white sweet corn from our local farmers’ market. It was good and I am a sweet corn expert. Indiana, my home state, produces the best sweet corn in the world. But this local sweet corn was very good, the tiny kernels popped in my mouth creating a sweet, mush-corn texture and taste.

Our Gravenstein apple tree has already produced three bags of apples we took to the food pantry. These are great cooking apples. This year they even taste pretty good right off the tree although apples are on my do not eat list.

If I put an apple up to my mouth my teeth jump up and say, “You want to challenge me? Is that it? You want to go? Come on crunchy apple I’ll take you on.”  My teeth like to talk a lot more than they can back up. In the not too distant past I broke a tooth eating fish. I try to keep anything that needs grinding out of my mouth. The apple sauce was delicious. I just wish my wife hadn’t put it in those little baby-food jars.

We have a prolific fig tree in our backyard. In past years everyone we know has gotten their fig fill from this tree. In addition to the figs, I have eaten local strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blue berries and now grapes.

These are trying times challenging us all. Still, we are so lucky to live right here. I give thanks for the opportunity. And when I start to feel depressed I remember, at least my mouth has been having a good time.

Gabriel A. Fraire has been a writer more than 45 years. He can be reached through his website at: www.gabrielfraire.com

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