Thursday, August 5, 2010

Oranges Like a Boy


My Swedish grandmother, Farmor, spoiled us kids oh so generously. You didn't have to clean your plate, you could eat cookies before dinner if you'd been baking, and she'd let each of us have our own orange. This was so not how my mother did things. As a charter member of the clean plate club, there was no way she was going to let us go from the table until every bite was gone. Then she'd take your plate, scrape the residue of the meal into “just one more bite.” And make you eat that, too. Absolutely nothing to eat before a meal, and snacks had to be meticulously spaced to maximize our dinner appetites. And we never got a whole piece of fruit to ourselves. I think because it was so hard to get us to finish the whole thing to her “done” satisfaction. Fruit was always cut up and shared. But at Farmor's, we got the whole fruit to ourselves, and could decide on our own when we were done. Such a luxury.

I loved eating oranges at Farmor's. She prepared them “like a boy”. The story, as she told it, and she was a fabulous story teller, was that her seven year-old son (that would The Swede, my dad) came inside asking for an orange. She peeled it and handed it to him. “No! Like a boy! I want my orange like a boy!” It apparently took several oranges to figure this one out, with increasing agitation from The Swede and befuddlement on Farmor's part as she tried to make it the right way. In the end, it was determined that a boy about The Swede's age had been walking down the street across from their house, eating an orange. His had only the northern hemisphere peeled, so you could hold it by the side that still had peel, and suck on it and bite it, rather like an ice cream cone. Finally communicating, Farmor did as instructed. “And you put two sugar cubes down in the middle.” Now, how he knew this from across the street is yet to be determined, but this was Farmor, so of course he got the sugar cubes.

So when she let us have the whole orange, it was prepared “like a boy.” We never named it anything else. She even let us cram those sugar cubes down the center of our orange, and more than two if we could make them fit.  And now when I prepare oranges like a boy for my kids, it's with a smile as I recall her love and devotion to making each visit with her a delight.

P.S Mom - you know I love you.

This has been an Alphabe-Thursday summer school post.  Check out the other great takes on the color orange!

19 comments:

Viki said...

A sweet memory. Loved it.

Sue said...

What a charming story. Thanks for sharing it today.

=)

Brian Miller said...

nice. cute story...i like to cute a hole in mine at the top and drink the juice as i mash the rest still in the peel then tear it apart to eat the pulp...

JStar said...

:) Nice story

Cheryl said...

What a sweet memory. Charter member of the empty plate club too! Memere (French Canadian grandmother) let us eat all the best stuff anyway we wanted just had to be at the table.

GardenofDaisies said...

I absolutely LOVE this story! Your Grandmother sounds just perfectly wonderful!! My Grandpa used to take me to the store to pick out a coconut... we would look at the "face" (the little dents on the end that look like eyes and nose) on each one until we found the one I liked best and then we would take that one home and give it a name. I still have one of those coconuts... he passed away about 30 years ago.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

What a beautiful memory! I loved reading it.

Aging Mommy said...

Oh what an interesting and lovely orange story. What sweet memories also.

purejoy said...

i need a napkin… i feel like i have orange juice dripping down my chin…and arm.
thanks for taking me with you, yet again.

razzamadazzle said...

That is such a wonderful memory. It's amazing how the little things are what we take with us and pass on to our own children.

Teresa

Sailing Simply said...

What a wonderful and sweet recollection! I get the way "the Swede" wanted it peeled but, sugar cubes in the middle? WoW! That's a new one on me! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful memory!

Lourie said...

This is such a wonderful story! And your kids will get to pass on that great and sweet tradition!

Pondside said...

What a sweet story of your Farmor and a family tradition that you carry forward to the next generation. Just lovely.

My name is PJ. said...

Such a lovely memory and tribute to Farmor.

Tina, did you know you can lose the word verification and, if you want put comment moderation on...or do nothing like I do. In all the time I've blogged, I've had two inappropriate comments and I just erased them. Word verification takes so much extra time when you multiply it by all the bloggers who use it. :)

Terra said...

what a wonderful story! Love that you shared it.

Melinda Cornish said...

I love this story....It makes me happy to be a grandma, cause your farmor and I have a lot in common!

Christy said...

Awe, I hope I am a grandmother like farmor - leaving memories of love for my grandchildren. But my kids - they are eating every bite!! LOL!

Jenny said...

I absolutely adored this link.

This story just touched my heart in so many ways.

I need to go read it again...hold on a sec.

Wow. I'm back. And I think I love this story now more than ever. That's what Farmor's and Grandma's and Nana's are supposed to do...cut oranges like a boy!

This was amazing.

Thank you for linking it.

A+

Susan said...

I grew up with out any grandparents. what a wonderful memory! thanks for sharing it with us :)
Susan