Tuesday, July 11, 2017

even a bowl of cherries has pits

It is cherry season in the Pacific Northwest.

I know that because it is cherry-buying season in Mexico.

Yesterday I drove to Manzanillo to have my teeth cleaned. Ever since I returned from Oregon early last month, I have intended to drive south to what passes for a big city in this part of Mexico.

When I first moved here, I would drive to Manzanillo once a week to pick up my mail at Mailboxes Etc.  That was before I discovered the Mexican mail system provided service just as good for a fraction of the price. Now, I go to Manzanillo every other month or so -- when I have some need to make the frustrating drive.

As I just told you, the impetus for this trip was to sit in a chair while my dentist found every sensitive spot in my mouth. I am not a very good patient. But, for $500 (Mx) (less than $28 (US)), I walked out of her office with a mouth as shiny as the grill on a 1953 Mercury.

I have a shopping routine when I am in town -- starting with La Comer (formerly known as Comercial Mexicana). It is one of those big box stores where you can buy a refrigerator, as well as the containers and food to fill it.

I would say that La Comer is a Mexican Walmart, but there is a real Mexican Walmart -- called Walmart. It is in the next block, and is usually my second stop in Manzanillo.

I can purchase almost everything I need in our local village stores. But, I stop at La Comer and Walmart for specialty items -- most often, imported foods. You know, like cherries.

This year, I did not find cherries in either store. But they were at my usual third stop -- Sam's Club.

Sam's Club almost always has some fruit or vegetable offering that I cannot find anywhere else. And cherries, my favorite fruit, will be hard to beat for the rest of the year.

They were a little rough-looking. That is understandable. They came all the way from Selah, Washington -- the hometown of my friend Rod Peters.

To survive their 3,000 mile journey, cherries need to be refrigerated. And refrigeration has a deleterious effect on fruit. A high percentage of the moisture is sucked right through the skin leaving it looking like one of those Texas matrons at a political fundraiser.

At my age, I am far more interested in substance. Surface beauty is almost always a distraction. So, I bought a 2 pound box.  I know you are going to ask. For $167.77 (Mx); a little over $9 (US).

I would gladly have paid more. Cherries are not only good in themselves. They harbor memories that are released with the first  bite.

As I drove back to Barra de Navidad, munching on my treasures, I was transported to the 1970s. Driving my 1967 red Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible through the Cascades with a five pound bag of freshly-picked cherries from Hood River in the passenger seat. They cost me $1 a pound. With the sun on my face and the wind streaming through my hair, I drove for hours spitting cherry pits along the highway. Stevie Cherry Pit, you might call me.

Now I live in Mexico -- and the opportunity to eat cherries while driving are reduced. To a degree. But, thanks to NAFTA, I can still have my Selah cherries and eat them, too.

And what could be better than that?

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