Tuesday, December 14, 2010


There's something about tangerines. It's a combination of attributes—from the feel of their pebbly, bright orange skin to the smell and taste of their juicy interior. Even today, these sensual inputs trigger memories that take me back to my childhood and to this special time of year,.

When I was a boy, my mother always had tangerines in the fridge when the Christmas season drew near. It was a tradition. I don't recall ever having them in the house at any other time of year. But at Christmas, there they were. Always.

And there were other things, too. Special things that only came out during the holiday season. Maybe the fact that they only came out at that time was the reason they hold such special memories. One of those things was a big wooden bowl that my dad filled with nuts in the shell.

There was a wide variety including the light tan English walnuts, the orange-colored Filberts, the dark brown Brazil nuts, and the easy-to-crack almonds. And of course, my favorite, the pecans. Somewhere in that wooden bowl, mixed in with the nuts, you would find a silver nutcracker and a few picks that looked like dental instruments. These were quite necessary in order to get every last goodie out of the shell. We didn't waste things back then.

Now that I think about it, I'm kind of looking forward to making a trip to the grocery store tomorrow and picking up a few of those tangerines. I may get a selection of various nuts in the shell, too. I might have to buy a nutcracker if I can't find ours. Where do those things disappear to when you're not looking?

Aren't Christmas memories the best?

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