First of all, a disclaimer of sorts: I am not trying to make light of COVID-19. It is weighing heavily on our minds, as new cases are hovering around the 200 mark on a daily basis, and our hospitals are filling up rapidly. It’s no joke at all. Mass vaccination is under way – and we are so grateful for the vaccines, indeed!
So, throughout this hot, treacherous summer the mango trees in our yard have been bestowing their bounty on us, as if to compensate for the trials of the pandemic and the at times almost intolerable heat. And they have come in waves – heavy, bouncing waves, sometimes crashing on the roof and rolling off.
The First Wave was the Julie mangoes (augmented greatly by my mother-in-law’s generous tree on the other side of town, which is the “gift that keeps on giving”). Julies are a lovely oval shape, smooth and flushed pink when they ripen. Our Julies were somewhat ravaged by birds, but we got a very good haul.
The Second Wave – that of the Bombay mangoes – was pretty intense, and prolonged. They literally rained down on us, even when we weren’t getting any rain. Our Bombay tree has a story to tell. During Hurricane Ivan (I think), when it was a mere teenager, it was pushed down, bullied by wind and rain and lying on the ground, its roots pulled up into the air. My husband and I lifted it and pushed it right back down into the earth (we were younger and more energetic in those days). It has flourished ever since, and has taken on a new character in recent years, growing impressively tall, dominating our back yard, and welcoming bird nests we can hardly see up there.
And the mangoes flew off the tree. The construction workers nearby begged some (successfully!) – even the battered and bruised ones on the ground. The most important tool in our yard is a long stick with a plastic flower pot attached to one end, which is used to nudge, push and at times jab at the fruit so that it falls into the pot.
Now, we are into the third wave: the East Indian. These are heavy, bulky, chewy, stringy fruit. Not all Jamaicans are fond of them (we are so fussy about our mangoes) but they are great for smoothies.
I have nothing more to add, except to say: Go get vaccinated!