This is an avocado (Persea americana). Not a particularly large avo, not a trophy avo, true; but it was very tasty. I’d have to say more tasty than any other, ever. Why was it more exceptional than usual?
Some years ago I managed to get an agreement with my father about where I could plant my avocado tree. It was barely a sapling then – a young, grafted avocado. We sorted a space – in itself no easy task as Dad was (rightfully) very protective of the space used in his garden. I dug the hole, and we planted the tree – I planted, Dad supervised and made sure I was doing it right. The avo proceeded to go backwards for some months, and then away it went – the russet coloured young leaves growing into the lush dark green as they matured. After a few years the avo flowered and then later produced fruit.
I can remember the first fruit – small, not unlike the one in the picture above. But no avocado was ever more cherished, and it was the first of many. Very many. I used to have a bit of an arrangement with the birds who’d help me get the avos down from the top branches, in exchange for a few pecked scraps. I climbed the trees on stormy nights to enjoy the full surge of the wind and rain. I used to pile lawn clippings and other garden trimmings under the tree to build up the nutrients. I love the soft, pale creamy green flowers that open on different days, and I’d hope/wish/pray for warm days in Spring so the fruit would set. We went through quite a lot together – I spent a lot of time up in and around my avo tree. It was always welcoming and generous to me. I used to bring bags of avos for my wife to be, and future in-laws; and there was always room for another avo in my diet. My fruit of choice, and – I like to think it was the careful feeding – I believe my avos were the best flavoured ever, far and away superior to those mass produced supermarket offerings. I love avos, and as I wrote here before, I’m sure there’ll be avos in heaven, and if not, it’ll be job one for me to get some planted asap.
As my friend Marcel would observe, some scripts in my life are becoming reworked from the threads of the past. Tonight, Marica and I shared the last avo we’ll take from the tree. It was just perfect. The tree itself is fine, but I don’t imagine we’ll be able to get any of the next season’s crop. Someone else will. I hope they take good care of my friend. A true friend is one who nurtures you.