chocolate is a verb

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Dorothy’s avocado…

avocado tree My mother, who was never much of a gardener, planted an avocado tree in the middle of a square of ivy at the end of our front yard. She loved avocados and tended to the tree encouraged by her visions of the large, green, glossy fruit she often brought home from Safeway.

She had been told that it would take seven years for the tree to bear fruit. So she waited, keeping an eye on the yard from the kitchen window, shooing away the dogs and children that ventured too close.

At last, the tree, which was still quite small, began to bear flowers. At dinner, my mother would breathlessly report the appearance of each tiny white bloom, then, a day or two later, the sad news that the flower was gone, fallen to the ground. This went on for some time – seasons, I think.

Then, remarkably, at the center of the flowers, tiny green avocados would appear, each one smaller than a pea. The back door opened and closed dozens of times each day as Dorothy made her tours of inspection, stepping carefully through the surrounding ivy, leaning in close to measure, with her artist’s eye, the health of her minuscule crop.

But they, too, dropped, and my mother became discouraged. For quite a while we heard nothing about the avocado tree, its cycles of blooming and fruiting unremarked.

Then one day, as my father and I sat at the kitchen table, my mother went out the back door and screamed. An avocado! A real avocado! How could she have missed it? But there it was, green and glossy, just like the ones from Safeway. On her tree.

We gathered around the miracle fruit, up to our ankles in ivy, shaking our heads in wonder. That’s when we noticed the string. The avocado was tied onto the tree, a neighbor’s joke.

Not long after that, the avocado tree was dug up and the ivy allowed to grow over the bare spot where the tree had stood. My mother told me that the tree had been moved to a more favorable location, but I always suspected that, like sick dogs that were sent away to a mythical “better home, in the country,” the tree’s fate was sealed, its collusion in the neighbor’s joke never forgiven.
avocado photo