The ad came out in the annoying, free, collection of fliers and personals that passes for a weekend paper in my tiny rural township. There it was in tantalizing color. Right on the very front of the grocery sale insert were the mangoes. They were pictured in their bulbous, plump, ripe, just off the tree glory, as well as peeled, depitted, chunked and ready to pop into my mouth. I have been awaiting their arrival for a couple of weeks now. The first mangoes of Spring. Just looking at that ad I could almost imagine that I could smell their warm, sweet deliciousness as my mouth filled with saliva.
But I am a busy person. I couldn’t drop what I was doing, bolt for the car and make a special trip into town just for a piece of fruit. It would be irresponsible and unjustifiable. There were other perfectly good, nutritious, no doubt tasty enough, nonmango fruits right in the bowl on the bar next to the grocery flier. And I am the mom. I must practice what I preach. “Don’t be spoiled, you can’t always have exactly what you want exactly when you want it, be thankful for what you do have, count your blessings, yada yada, blah blah blah.”
So I carefully folded the flier and tucked it into my notebook where I make my shopping list. I could have just picked up a pencil and jotted “mangoes” on the list, but that didn’t seem like enough. I wanted to be able to flip open the cover and admire them at a moments notice. I wanted to be able to have that bright depiction handy to illustrate the anticipation that I would experience until I got to the grocery store. And most of all I wanted to be absolutely certain that my week didn’t go sideways in such a way that might cause me to somehow become so preoccupied that I might unthinkably forget to get the mangoes.
A couple of days passed. It seemed like many more. And finally it was grocery day. I strode into the store like a conquering queen, commandeered a buggy and headed straight for the produce department. I was feeling magnanimous. I decided to share the glory. I asked Twelve if she’d like to help with the shopping and gave her the honor of getting the mangoes. “Fill a bag,” I decreed, “no less than twelve.” I would humbly grab a bag of carrots and check out the bananas (they haven’t been as ripe as they should be lately). A few moments later Twelve returned. She couldn’t find the mangoes. I gave her another chance. “Just walk around all the bins. They’re going to be here somewhere.” I frowned at some sad looking strawberries that I might have considered last week, before the arrival of the mangoes. Twelve returned again empty-handed. Oh well, I had tried. She clearly wasn’t ready for such a mission. “You’ll just have to wait ’til I get around there and find them for you.” I was graciously thinking that I’d still let her load them into the bag.
I strolled around the produce bins once, twice, I was starting to get concerned. I got serious and scoured the produce bins. No mangoes in sight. I looked around for a store employee. None were nearby. Concern was quickly turning into worry. I took one more look around the fruit. I began to feel anxious. This was no time to panic though. I pulled myself together and started toward the checkouts. Someone was going to have to answer for this confusion, and even more importantly, find the mangoes for me. I evaluated the mangy lot of cashiers and baggers looking for one with an appearance of competence. I picked the most likely candidate and asked her if she could tell me where the mangoes were. Of course she couldn’t. She called the produce manager. He finally arrived.
I asked my question. He looked surprised at the word mangoes. “Were they in the flier?” I whipped out my cherished copy and pointed desperately to the photo. “Is that this week’s?” With trembling hands I flipped it over to the date. “Well, they’re probably around the corner of that bin in the basket,” he said turning as if to leave.
“No!” He stopped in surprise. “No they’re not,” I said forcing myself to calm down.
“Well, they’re probably behind the pineapples.” I became suspicious. That didn’t even sound likely. What was this guy trying to pull?
“Behind the pineapples?” I saw in his eyes that he knew I was onto him. “Could you show me, please?” He moved hesitantly toward the pineapples. I did too. I looked on hopefully but could see even before he moved them aside that there wasn’t room for mangoes there, especially not as many as I had planned to buy.
“I guess we don’t have any. Maybe we’ll get some in a few days,” he said as if from a long way off. Slowly the fog cleared in my head and the reality of “no mangoes” set in. I mumbled something, I don’t know what, as I turned my buggy and slowly shuffled out of the produce department and toward canned goods. The oxymoron didn’t even dawn on me in my stupified state
So that’s my blog for today. What good fruit stories do you have? Put them in the comments if you have any.