Sunday, July 5, 2009

Halfway through another year ...

I realized this morning, as I looked out at the sunrise, that the days are already beginning to get shorter. We are more than halfway through the calendar year. Where has 2009 gone???

We are finally getting ripe mangoes that have not been attacked by the Mediterranean Fruit Fly. Only one of our two trees has fruit this year, for they have not been pruned or fertilized as they should. There were lots of flowers early on, but we've had wind in the interim and much of the crop has landed on the ground hopelessly immature. But those that survive! About the size of a softball and weighing in at at least 1 pound each, sweet, juicy ... three is all I can carry without a basket. Two or three of those a day would be nice. Today I picked (or picked up) a dozen. Yesterday about the same. We are making mango jam, mango chutney, eating fresh mango at every meal, giving fruit away, taking cut fruit to my father ... and letting the birds have their share, too. The "picking pole" (a wire basket with a foam rubber lining) has a 16' handle. With that I can reach the lowest fruit on the tree. There's at least another 30' of tree above that!

A friend of my brother's has a lychee tree, also large. He's lucky. He has access to a bucket truck -- one of those things with a basket on the end of a boom that allows the telephone and power folk, the tree trimmers and the cable television installers to reach high places without a ladder. We could sure use one of those!!

Yesterday was one of my dad's good days. He inhaled the little bowl of fresh mango. He could carry on a real conversation, and knew who I was talking about when I mentioned a cousin who is fighting pancreatic cancer. Daddy's problem comes in time and place. He knows I belong in California. He knows he grew up in California. Therefore, what am I doing in Hawaii? "What house," he asked, "are my parents living in now?" His father passed in 1948, his mother in 1982.

That's OK. "In the Vista Street house."

He beamed. "I remember when my father built that house. I was about 8 years old, and I remember him laying the floor, telling me how he was putting it down at an angle for strength." He drifted off into his memory for a bit. My grandfather was a shipwright who used his naval architecture training to build two houses for his family -- one in Berkeley, the other in Long Beach, California.

Give thanks for flashes of relative normalcy in the midst of dementia. Let someone know you are thinking about them. Don't forget to pray ....

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