There could be enthralling cartoons rolling merrily on the screen, there might even be fierce artistic fervor unfolding, there may be arguing, even shoving, with battle lines being negotiated . Just about any attention-grabber the universe can wave before my two grandkids could roar along in any given moment, but I can trump it, hands-down, no exceptions or outliers, with four magic words:
Who wants a peach?
The resplendent summer peach, in all its velvety, rose-hued, softly ripened glory is currently the Mother of All Culinary Fantasies for Buddy and Sis. And while their love of the juicy jewel is shared, and equally fervent, their consumption style reveals radically different foraging actions and much, I would venture, about the distinctive individuals they will become.
From Buddy, at a wise and deep-thinking six, the peach receives respect and gentle handling, as much as a boy of six can be gentle with anything destined to travel soon from hand to stomach. He calmly studies the velvet orb cradled in his palm and ponders his options when offered the choice of eating it sliced or whole. His young mind, its gears processing output options as clearly as a blinking Times Square billboard, wastes little time in divining the key distinction here. Option A (sliced by his grandmother, delivered in bowl with fork) requires a slight delay at the post, while Option B (whole) offers instant gratification. Still, he takes care not to rush his answer and show his (hungry) hand. “I think,” he says calmly and deliberately, “I’ll eat it whole. If I could please have a paper towel for the juice.”
Such operational analysis and niceties of manner are but dust beneath the chariot wheels of his younger sister, who squeaks like a rusty bike chain when told she gets an entire peach to her four-year-old self and reaches forward to seize the prize in the work of a moment. (As I have said before about this young female, no one is ever going to have to advise her to Lean In.) By the time I can turn back around to articulate the slicing option a second time, there is juice everywhere, the peach is reduced in size by half, and her rakish grin illuminates the room like a late July sunbeam.
So goes a hot summer evening, with two kids, two peaches and a grandmother pondering if peaches can portend things to come.
Author’s note: Regular readers know I don’t use this space for commercial promotion, but will nevertheless for this story say that Jackson’s Orchard in Bowling Green, Ky., has the finest peaches I’ve ever tasted or laid eyes on. If you live in this region and love peaches, you will find theirs are incomparable. Admittedly, I am biased, as the orchard is run by extended family, but the quality of the product speaks for itself. Visit them online or on find them on Facebook.