Thursday, August 21, 2014
There is nothing like eating fruit picked from the tree. I have always felt that way, regardless of the potential wormholes and wasp bites on the fruit. I was happy to find I'm not the only one.
For example, there's my friend who lives in Guadalajara. He was the fruit he had for breakfast -- mango, apples,"tuna" from cactus, oranges, plums, and all kinds of wonderful fruits. At first I thought that he had purchased them in the town near his "rancho" near Guadalajara, Mexico. But, he said he picked them himself -- that several years ago he put in a little orchard, and that for him, there is no greater pleasure than strolling through it in the morning and picking fruit that is still wet with dew.
My parents had fruit trees, and I loved eating cherries, peaches, apples, pears, and persimmons. But, hands down, the fruit I like to eat most from the tree is grapefruit. What I like about grapefruit is that it's such a random thing; you never know what you'll get. The fruit can be really sweet, or really bitter, or somewhere in between, and you can never tell by its color, size, or even firmness.
The first time I picked a grapefruit was on New Year's Eve when I was 15 years old. I was in Palm Springs, California, accompanying my dad on a trip. He was the head of a contract mining company, and one of the companies, Atajo Mining (short cut mining!), was not performing, and he was going to have to enter in some rather difficult conversations. He had told me all about it as we drove across the desert from Phoenix to Palm Springs.
While he was in negotiations, I was riding bicycles and horses at locations near the hotel where we were staying. Nothing was going as planned. I was seriously saddle-sore from riding a horse for 4 hours instead of the 1 hour, and I felt very alone. It was late afternoon and I had a few hours to kill before my dad came back to the hotel to go to a New Year's Eve celebration. I decided to sit outside, relax, and read a book. My room was perfect for it, because it had a small patio shaded by a grapefruit tree that was bursting with bright yellow fruit, and many felt soft and ripe to the touch. I picked two grapefruits and tried them. They were wonderfully bitter (I love bitter things), as was the time itself or perhaps, let's say, bittersweet...
But, that's another story and one I'll save for another time. Another story would be based on the saying that fruit never falls far from the tree where it grew, referring to characteristics of a child and his or her parent. That's a saying that fills me with angst and dread, but again that's another story.
In the meantime, every time I think of a grapefruit tree, I think of that amazing time with my dad, who, interestingly enough, sends me off with a small bag of grapefruits each time I see him.
Saturday, August 02, 2014
It was partly his music, but it was mainly that he looked like an angel with his pale blonde hair, his porcelain skin, and his light amber eyes. When he burst onto the rock and roll / blues scene in the early 1970s, John Dawson Winter III (Johnny Winter) often dressed in Renaissance-inflected loose, flowing shirts and shiny slacks along with elegant platform shoes -- he could have stepped off the canvas painted by Botticelli, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, or other Italian Renaissance artist. His younger brother, Edgar, was also an albino and a musician. Edgar, however, was not beautiful, nor was he the least bit angelic, despite the fact that he adorned himself with chunky women's necklaces and you had to wonder who came first - Edgar Winter or David Bowie. I remained unmoved by Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. However, when it came to Johnny Winter, I was utterly transfixed.
I loved Johnny Winter's music because it was so expressive, although I did not even
like the blues. His slide guitar work was mesmerizing, especially when I
could watch him perform at a concert recorded for television. I liked
it also that Johnny Winter was a man of few words; he spoke through his
costuming and also through his music. When Johnny Winter died, he was no
longer beautiful in the same way that he had been when he was in his
20s and 30s. Years of heroin addiction will do that to you. However,
there was still something in his stage presence that pulled in the
ineffable, and at 70, he had the same heart-stopping phrasing and his
voice the same forceful growl; a sound utterly at odds with his frail,
often other-worldly appearance. He was still an angel, albeit one whose
appearance tugged your heartstrings because he still did what angels
did, which was to be in touch with the divine, and bring the music of
the spheres to our own mortal coils.
|John Dawson Winter III|
|Johnny Winter: 1944-2014|