The Pineapple Story

Last Tuesday afternoon I stood out in the sun in the backyard at my folks’ place, Blackberry Flats.  The heat of summer was bearing down but the shade of the tree and the gentle breeze made it bearable.  I was visiting with Mama’s neighbor who lives across the road, and who has been such a huge gift throughout the past four years.  A quiet and gentle soul, he had finished doing the yard the day before and it looked great.  I told him how much we appreciated him keeping it up just as Daddy would have.

He said, “Yeah, I don’t know why, but it was something mowing this time.  I kept looking over there, expecting her to come to the back door.”

I laughed softly, as the emotion crept in.  “Yes sir, probably to ask you to help her with something else?”

He shook his head. “No.  She usually sent me home with something. Like fruit.”  He looked over, and we said the word in sync. “Pineapple.”  We laughed as the tears formed and the memories came flooding back.

As I walked into the grocery store the first time after Mama died, as soon as I rounded the produce section, I saw it.  The already prepared pineapple.  I felt like I’d had the breath knocked out of me.  “Who will cut my pineapple for me now?” I whispered to myself.  I almost left the store then as the tears and sadness and raw grief threatened to engulf me.

One of Mama’s love languages was cooking.  And sharing food.  Such as leftover biscuits (some of my favorites), leftovers in general, and fruit she’d pick up on sale and prepare for her grandbabies.  That whole Wal-Mart price matching–Mama took that stuff seriously.  She would pore over the sale papers and kept the current ones for different stores folded in a stack on the stool next to where she sat at the kitchen counter.  She would make her grocery list accordingly.  And when Aldi or Giant or Freshway had their {fill in the blank here} on sale, Mama put it on her Wal-Mart list and tucked her sales papers in her purse and headed out.  Love it.  Did I mention already that we were raised on sale?  With a coupon?  Yep.

And so one of the stores would occasionally have a great sale on pineapples.  And Mama liked the pineapples from Wal-Mart, so she would pick up a couple.  Price matched.  She had a special knife for the job. With it she could take a whole pineapple down to delectable bite-sized pieces, throwing the rest of it out in the compost.   The funny thing is, Mama really couldn’t eat pineapple.  Maybe a bite or two now and then, but it tended to bother her, so she avoided it.  But she knew how much my babies, especially my oldest loved it.  Daddy also enjoyed it when he was with us.  I’m not sure how or when but Mama later found out that her neighbors–one on the side and the other across the road–also loved it.  So she would prepare each of us a container (you know, the odd Cool Whip or yogurt or sour cream container) full and send it home to be enjoyed.  What a treasure!

Mama's cutting board and pineapple knife.....she brought joy and sunshiny sweetness to friends and family with them.

Mama’s cutting board and pineapple knife…..she brought joy and sunshiny sweetness to friends and family with them.

When my girl graduated a few weeks back, we had a gathering to celebrate.  A sweet friend prepared delicious goodies for us to enjoy.  As she was placing things on the countertop, she pulled out a single pineapple and sat it in a bowl.  Y’all.  For the love of all things Mama.  I had to walk away for a moment, and then, well, y’all who know me won’t be surprised, I shared the story of Mama’s pineapple legacy with my friend.  It.  Was.  Just.  Right.

The pineapple that made us smile and remember at Aub's graduation festivities.

The pineapple that made us smile and remember at Aub’s graduation festivities.

Tonight I am thankful for sweet reminders of my Mama and her love for us.  Her generous spirit.  Her kindness.  Her spunk.  Her thriftiness and determination to be a good steward of what she had.  All things I hope to have even a small bit of one day.  And though I am sorry others are sad, it is nice to be reminded that others miss her too.  That together we can talk about her and smile and cry and laugh and remember.   And for a Tuesday night, that will do just fine.

6 thoughts on “The Pineapple Story

  1. What a great story! You have such great memories and thanks for sharing them with us. I don’t think I ever met your mom or dad, but I know they must have been great people because they raised a great lady and you in turn are doing the same! Love you guys and miss you!

    • Oh, Mattie, they would have loved you. And you would have known it. Thank you for reading these rambling old memories. It means so much to be able to share them with others, especially those I love. And thank you for such high praise. You are a part of who Aub is turning out to be. The things you instilled in her took root and are growing in grand ways. Love you! We miss you too.

      • Awww, you just made my day and made me tear up 🙂 A lot of times you go around in life wondering if you are making a difference so it is great to hear that you are. So glad to be able to be a part of your great family and watch your babies grow into wonderful adults and children of God. You are doing such an amazing job with them.

      • You have and are making a difference. The ripple effect of your time with both of them is still going. And thank you for the kind words, but I know it takes more than just me to do the raising. Lucky to have folks like you as role models for them to look to. ❤

  2. This made me cry this AM. I read it to Bill and he said We will try to embody that same spirit one day as we raise our “littles.” (I love you and your Mama’s particular expressions. Barbara had her own language that I just about had figured out.)

    • It means so much to me to be able to share these stories with y’all this way. Thank you for reading them and for taking time to share with me your thoughts. And thank you for missing her and them with me. That I’m not alone is everything.
      I know you will be wonderful with your own littles when they come along. I can’t wait to hear the stories you will have to share. And yes, Mama did have her own phrases and such. I miss that. But I can hear her in what I say almost everyday. For that I am thankful. Much love to you and Mr. Bill!

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