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Summer Fruits
 
Many summers ago
when Grandpa would come home
from the fields
his white plastic buckets would bring
either bad or good news for the
tastes of us grandchildren,
asparagus or the sweet taste of
a Thompson seedless.
 
When Grandpa unloaded his brother
Domingo's truck, we all watched
with anticipation. Would the tools he
removed be the hand-held clippers
or the long-shafted asparagus cutters.
Would we get the sweet summer afternoon
treat of grapes popping in our mouths.
Or would mom get yet another
brown paper bag of "it's good for you"
despite the taste.
 
But it was the asparagus that bought
the tiny green house in a westside Fresno neighborhood
it was the grapes, and later raisins that
raised eight children
while strawberries, peaches and onions
clothed, fed and sent them to school.
 
While we, wild grandchildren with dirty
bare feet, ate grapes and watched
afternoon cartoons ­ before the front yards
were chain linked in ­ we had no idea
we were the first generation of Ricardos
who would not pick the very fruit we ate.
 
Grandpa's pruning clippers, asparagus
cutters and knives are dispersed among the
garages and tool sheds of the rest of the family,
but the dirt from the fields has not washed away
in the stories about working with Pop.
And now I miss the taste of
fresh asparagus.
 
©2000 Rod Ricardo-Livingstone
 

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