Salted Grapefruit and a Flood of Memories


We all have smells and tastes that take us back to moments in our life.  They may be events of life changing proportion, or ones of the everyday variety that you don’t realize are significant until years have gone by.

For example, crayons remind me of kindergarten.  Kindergarten and arguing with a boy named Danny over the only left-handed pair of scissors.  In the end he always won and as a result I use only right-handed scissors despite being left-handed.

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Now grapefruit; I absolutely love the smell of a fresh-cut grapefruit.  I love the delicious sweet tartness of this succulent citrus.  But truth be told, I love the smell of grapefruit for the simple fact that it minds me of my granny.

Now at the risk of being a wee bit melancholy in my grapefruit pondering I will share I had to say good-bye to my granny, Ruby, 15 years ago this week when she passed away suddenly from a heart attack.  It was by far one of the hardest experiences of my life.  Truthfully, at that point and time in my life I hadn’t really had to deal with death.  Death was a slap in the face by an icy hand that left only stinging tears.  Tears and emotions that I just didn’t know how to deal with.

As the years have passed, the tears of lessened and my memories of her have become more heightened.  Memories that make my smile.

I don’t generally mark the anniversary of a loved ones passing.  These dates are not recorded on the family calendar, but I suppose the indelible mark the lost has left on my heart and soul brings the date into my awareness on some level.  Therefore I shouldn’t have been so surprised that, for no clear reason, I felt compelled to buy a bag of Ruby Red Grapefruit on Monday, the anniversary of her untimely passing.  This morning as I sliced it open, in a spray of tart citrus oil, I was surrounded by a flood of memories of my granny.

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  • She had curtains on her landing that I used to weave my fingers through.
  • She had a purple bathtub that I remember sloshing around in as a kid.
  • She always had cinnamon toothpaste – Perhaps that explains why I love the taste of cinnamon hearts.
  • She laughed openly and with abandon.
  • She loved you for who you were – despite your shortcomings or poor decisions.
  • She was a wicked card player – I believe she was the one who taught me how to play various versions of solitaire.
  • She often proclaimed it wasn’t your age that mattered, but how old you felt yourself to be.
  • She was an avid 10 pin bowler – In fact on the day of her funeral we went 10 pin bowling as a family as a way to celebrate her life.
  • She let me jump on the bed – Little did my mother know, she let my sister and I pull the mattress down on the floor so we would be all the safer while we jumped.
  • She used to sing a song with the most delightful tune but absolutely horrendous lyrics.  I will suffice it to say the lyrics to, “Saw my Leg Off,” are not the makings of a lullaby, but I will admit I would hum the tune to my babies as I rocked and soothed them.

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So perhaps you are wondering what the connection is to the smell and taste of grapefruit.  Well, my granny would eat her grapefruit salted.

Salted grapefruit, you ask.  It is as simple as it sounds.  While as a child, I was content to douse my grapefruit in sugar, she would sprinkle hers with a wee bit of salt.

My mouth puckers and nose wrinkles at the very thought.

Now I love my granny dearly and I miss her with every fibre of my being.  As the anniversary of her passing is upon me I have welcomed the memories connected to her to wash over me like a soothing balm.  But I have to admit, to this day I have never actually tried salted grapefruit.

I still have a bag of fresh grapefruit just waiting for me in the crisper.  Maybe I’ll just have to try it tomorrow.

I love you Granny.

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