Credits: Thanks A Melon by Blue Heart Scraps
I have to thank Pop and my paternal grandparents for my appreciation of fruit, lots of fruit, and lots of different fruits. My “first fruit” was probably something common like peaches or bananas in baby food, maybe I graduated to a real banana. But the first fruit I vividly remember eating was a fig.
There was a fig tree in Noni's and Nono’s backyard. I remember watching Nono dig it up one spring. It’s the memory of him with Johnny, Dave and me in the backyard; Johnny was running all over, Dave was watering something or some task Nono gave him to do and I had a basket or something that I was carrying things around in for Nono. One of the things he did that day was dig up the fig tree. I don’t think a fig tree is natural to Michigan and it had to be buried every fall and dug up every spring because the Michigan winters were too harsh for it. After Nono was gone, Pop took over fig-tree-maintenance for Noni, burying it on one of our fall visits and digging it up in the spring. We lived close and visited often, just when it was time to tend to the fig tree, Noni sent him out to the backyard.
That first fruit I tasted came after the introduction to the burying of the fig tree. I remember “helping” Noni water plants and the vegetable garden and she stopped at the fig tree which had purple figs hanging from it. She took one off to taste-test it and see if the figs were ripe. She gave me the other half after deciding they were ready. I don’t at all think it was the first time I tasted a fig; it’s just my first memory of a fig from that tree. Noni gathered up her apron and picked more of the fig to take inside.
There was also a canopy of grape vines over the patio at Noni’s house. On September nights when we ate outside Noni would reach up and grab a bunch of grapes to have with cheese and wine after dinner. I remember watching the leaves grow on the vines twisting around the pip frame and creating the summer canopy. Then the bunches of tiny hard green grapes grew from the canopy slowly turning into the rich purple concord grapes we’d all enjoy in the fall.