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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bliss

“When an orange tree blooms, you can get within 10 feet of it and smell it,” he said. “And that is some smell.”


Periodically, my mother would pack me onto a plane bound for Orlando.
My grandmother would meet me at the airport, always with a cardigan on the front seat of her station wagon in case I was cold from the plane ride. It was Florida, and I was coming from DC, so I never was, but without fail I faked a shiver just to get that cardigan wrapped around me. Then we'd drive to her home in Ocala, where I'd stay in the pale rose room in which my mother grew up, sit at my mother's small, cream vanity, climb up onto my mother's high bed with the dusty pink bedspread that crackled when moved.

In the mornings, my grandmother would wake me with a cry of "Go pick your breakfast!" I'd run out the patio door and into the orchard. Sometimes I'd sit on the tire swing while I decided. Eventually I'd choose, usually the pink grapefruit I thought so pretty inside and which is still my favorite to this day. I'd pick one from a low hanging branch and carry it inside to the kitchen.

There my grandmother would smell the stem end, then say, "You picked this from the tree, right? You didn't pick it up off the ground, did you?" I'd nod and dance from side to side while she cut my grapefruit carefully. Then I'd carry it slowly outside and plomp down happily beside the pool, where I'd linger eating the fragrant grapefruit and trying to stay sort of still in hopes one of the little garden lizards might come out and join me.
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