It is part our Okie culture to share with your neighbor. Very often, we would find deliciously juicy cherry tomatoes in a brown paper sack, from our neighbors across the street, on our back steps when we would come home. We would pop them in our mouth and eat them like candy, or we would drizzle them with a balsamic vinaigrette and top them with fresh basil from the pot that sat near the driveway. When the tomatoes in our garden were ripe and ready to eat, we would return the gesture, signed-Freeman Family.
Brian and I ventured out for a walk through Coconut Grove a few days ago. We happened upon an older lady in the front yard of a series of townhomes, that stood no more than 5'2" in height. She held a 10' long contraption that had claws at the end of it. She was pulling from the tree what I initially thought were avocados. WRONG!
I asked her what she was pulling from the tree and she responded, "You aren't from around here are you? Come here and take some! They're mangos!"
My thoughts: Mangos! We didn't have mangos in Maple Ridge! I can't believe I live in a place where mangos grow like walnuts-but then again, peacocks run wild in my neighborhood. Are these poisonous mangos? How am I going to cook these mangos-salsa, chutney, salad, pasteries?
So, Brian and I GLADLY accepted the green, unripened fruit with the instructions that we were to put them in a dark place so they could mature, turn orange-ish red and their flavor sweeten. For the past week, we have patiently watched the fruit mature and develop-I only wish that the Internet had a 'scratch-n-sniff' option so I could share the tropical aroma of the fresh fruit.
If I knew the name of the lady that shared her fruit with us, and the specific home she lived in, I'd drop a THANK YOU in her mailbox. She has proven to us that the neighborly mindset of 'share thy wealth' doesn't stay in the borders of the South. Even the harshness of the Miami culture can be softened by the sincerity of someone that lives next door.
**The plural of tomato is tomatoes. At least from what I can tell-there is NO definite plural form of mango-some say mangos and some say mangoes. The latter just looks funny to me, so I'm going to stick with mangos.
The ripe & ready to eat mango!