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Tiaras and Trucks

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sunshine After Snow

Planning a wedding for the end of April in Michigan means accepting that the weather cannot be slid into a pocket of a shiny wedding planner or checked off a to-do list, like “find romantic smoky-eye photo” and “pay eight trillion wedding vendors”.

Marrying my best friend and the love of my life made it easy to laugh at the snow covering the ground as our plane took off, as did the knowledge that the beaches of Hawaii were waiting patiently at the end of a long flight, with a few day’s stop in southern California, land of beautiful weather.

My first Hawaiian cocktail: a pina colada, sticky sweet and icy and garnished with a little umbrella and a slice of Hawaiian pineapple. Relaxed and content and surrounded by sand, I sipped from the coconut-infused rum, cool sweat from the glass dripping welcome relief from my warm hand to my (still basically lily white) legs.

I slid the garnish from the glass without thinking, nibbling at the edge of the pineapple.

Sunshine flooded my mouth, dancing across my tongue and leaving a trail of nectar on my lips.

I forgot that the pineapple slice was only the drink’s garnish, an afterthought grabbed by the bartender from a black, plastic nest of similar slices. I devoured the rest of the fruit, ignoring the sticky juice on my fingers, the napkin that came with my drink long-forgotten on a table somewhere.

I’d eaten pineapple before, appreciated the sweetness of the fruit, the slight tartness, the juice seeming to be held together by tender threads of flesh.

This pineapple was different, eaten from the edge of a glass, my new wedding ring a pleasant, unfamiliar weight on my hand. The fruit captured the languid sunshine of the day, clinging to the roof of my mouth and corners of my memory like the brown grains of sand that remain in tiny folds in my suitcases.

Before that day in April, I had tasted pineapple, but not pineapple cultivated on ground only a few miles from my beach towel. Before that day in April, Ryan and I had traveled together, but not as a married couple, a team, a complete circle. Later that day, we decided to forego our planned island hopping and settled into island time.

Friends and travel forums extol restaurants around the island that boast delicately prepared fish and extravagant wine pairings, but I found myself looking forward to bowls of fresh fruit eaten at our breakfast buffet. Those chunks of pineapple, surrounded by mango and papaya, were a stolen dessert, one eaten before setting out to snorkel or swim or nap.

Dessert in the morning, day after day, promised that life could not get any better, and I think about those moments now, years later, when I add a whole pineapple to my cart, balking at the cost of the pre-cored, plastic containers of fruit.

When I needed a healthy treat to add to a party menu, I slid chunks of pineapple onto kabob sticks along with strawberries, melon, kiwi, blueberries, and blackberries, a rainbow of flavors, as delicious as they were healthy.

When my miscarriage shook my faith in my own body, I carefully separated the core of the pineapple, eating the tougher, bitter part of the fruit, fervently willing myself to believe the old wives tales that promised increased success with implantation.

When Abbey was ready to start “cutting things” with me in the kitchen, I armed her with a pink plastic knife from Ikea and showed her how to turn the long strip of fruit into bite-sized pieces. We ate her handiwork from the cutting board and from a bowl and from the refrigerator until the acid rendered our taste buds inoperable.

Planning a wedding for the end of April in Michigan meant giving up control of the weather. I hadn’t expected snow on the ground, and I hadn’t expected to discover a fruit I had eaten countless times before, but both unexpected moments are precious threads in the tapestry begun when a simple circle slid onto my finger and my heart.

This post is part of The Red Dress Club's RemembeRED, an exercise in memoir writing.  The prompt: This week, we'd like for you to write about your favorite fresh fruit or vegetable.

Concrit is always welcome!

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22 Comments:

  • At March 15, 2011 at 9:24 AM , Anonymous Queen Momma 2 u! ;) said...

    Loved this and it's sweetness (pun intended) ;) ... wishing you many sunshiny, sticky fingered days (and a few fancy cocktails!)

     
  • At March 15, 2011 at 9:59 AM , Anonymous Jackie said...

    What a great memory! I love pineapple.... as a matter of fact I just got done eating some!

     
  • At March 15, 2011 at 10:13 AM , Anonymous Kir said...

    oh my goodness, well this puts my post to shame, but in such a good way.
    I loved the way you knit that story into the love of the pineapple, the way it stayed with you, that day, that taste on your tongue. I just loved this(just as I love everything you write)

     
  • At March 15, 2011 at 11:49 AM , Anonymous Amy said...

    This is a great story! island pineapple IS so much sweeter than stuck in MI snow pineapple!

     
  • At March 15, 2011 at 11:58 AM , Anonymous Elena @NaynaDub said...

    So many great things about this post...the description of the fruit in Hawaii, talking about your marriage, etc. Great job. Saw on twitter that this is your first entry. You made me think back to so many things...downing pineapple because it was suggested by acupuncturist when I was trying to conceive. The memories of my honeymoon on Hawaii and all the fresh fruit. Glad you joined in this week!

    *On a side note - it was fun to see when I looked at your twitter that we live near each other (I'm in Troy, but when we were first married we lived in RO. Miss that place!)

     
  • At March 15, 2011 at 12:24 PM , Anonymous Jennifer said...

    Reading this piece was like being on vacation, it was warm, enveloping and just the right level of nostalgic.

     
  • At March 15, 2011 at 1:43 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thank you! Writing it made me wish I could go back there. Immediately :)

     
  • At March 15, 2011 at 1:44 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Aw, thanks! Also, cool that you are in Troy. We love living here but wish the schools were a little better (like yours!)

     
  • At March 15, 2011 at 1:44 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I know, isn't it?

     
  • At March 15, 2011 at 1:44 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    You are much too sweet to me, and I always love seeing you here and reading your posts as well :)

     
  • At March 15, 2011 at 1:45 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Jealous! I wanted to buy one yesterday, since I worked on this, but Abbey insisted on "oranges" (clementines). Yummy but not the same.

     
  • At March 15, 2011 at 1:45 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thank you so much! We all need a few fancy cocktails in our lives now and again.

     
  • At March 15, 2011 at 2:29 PM , Anonymous GalitBreen said...

    This was lovely! A tale that came to a full circle. I stayed with you through the ebb and flow, felt what you felt and am so craving pineapple right now! Loved this! :)

     
  • At March 15, 2011 at 5:24 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Oh thank you! I think it was a touch long, but I have a hard time cutting when it's something close to my heart (and isn't it all close to our hearts when we get it on the page?)

     
  • At March 15, 2011 at 8:17 PM , Anonymous Andrea Anthony said...

    oh well done! there really is nothing like pineapple in Hawaii. it's truly a taste of its own.

     
  • At March 15, 2011 at 9:18 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thank you. It is a completely different flavor (or maybe the environment, or the combination!)

     
  • At March 15, 2011 at 11:55 PM , Anonymous mandyland said...

    I read this earlier and couldn't comment. I sat at work and read your wonderful words describe a delicious (and favorite) fruit and then, hidden in the middle like the bitter core of the pineapple a peek at a grieving woman.

    It brought tears to my eyes then and does so again.

    Fabulous post.

     
  • At March 16, 2011 at 8:26 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thank you! My miscarriage was tough to deal with, but without it, I wouldn't have our little Dylan. That's unfathomable to me, so I try to remember that there is something positive to be found in that memory, too.

     
  • At March 16, 2011 at 2:19 PM , Anonymous Ksluiter said...

    Oh you just rekindled my love of pineapple. I ate so much of it when I was pregnant...it was my sweet fix instead of candy. And now Eddie loves it too. Which is funny because my husband doesn't really like it. huh.

    Your writing flows so well. From the joy of rediscovery on your honeymoon, to using it daily, to the miscarriage, to your daughter cutting, and back to your honeymoon...some people would make this seems choppy, but somehow you have pieced it together quite well. Love it.

     
  • At March 16, 2011 at 10:49 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thank you for the compliment about the flow. After your post on TRDC, I thought, "Oh no, if Katie reads this, she's going to think it's verbose!" so I'm glad you liked it :)

    Also, I ate sick amounts of pineapple when I was pregnant with Abbey. Craving fruit and cheese doesn't sound too bad in terms of the gaining weight aspect, but when you consume boatloads of them - watch out!

     
  • At March 17, 2011 at 11:45 AM , Anonymous Stacy said...

    I always enjoy to read your writing. You should have written more of my college papers!

     
  • At March 17, 2011 at 11:53 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Ha ha ha!
    xoxo

     

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