‘It’s mine!’ yells daughter 1.
‘Not if I get it first!’ shouts daughter 2, as she runs downstairs and out into the yard.
It’s mango season. Mangoes have always screamed exotic fruit to me. Therefore, every year since I’ve lived in The Bahamas, I find it exciting to see the branches of a tree in our neighbor’s yard, bending with the weight of them. Some hang over into our yard, which is also the school yard. For the next month, we will hear the thud as they fall. If it’s not school hours, one of my girls will rush out to beat the chickens and roosters to where it has fallen. If it’s school time, we generally can’t hear the thud, but everyone is extra keen to be first outside at break. Then, if the fruit aren’t on our side of the fence, they grab the longest stick they can find and ‘fish’ the mangoes close enough to grab through the wire. This is often while the neighbor observes this, unnoticed, through his window.
Mangoes have been in my life for as long as I’ve known my husband. They are his favorite fruit and it brings back memories of when we were first dating. It’s not the first fruit that comes to mind when you pop into a store in the UK, but it was his choice of snack for every occasion: when we were hungover, visiting a quaint fishing village, or after windsurfing in a freezing sea. I usually declined his offer of a bite as I didn’t fancy staining my clothes, or having juice run down my chin. At that time, I was more concerned about how I looked in front of him. Although I would be secretly salivating for a bite of the juicy fruit.
Over the years, my enjoyment of eating is definitely stronger than concern about my appearance. Living here, I’ve picked up different ways to tuck into a mango. At school, the kids peel the top half, leaving the skin on the bottom half to hold. My favorite way is to sit in the water and everyone in the family eat them there. No washing up and no sticky hands. My girls prefered method is for me to make them into ‘hedgehogs’, where I cube mango halves to look like the spikes of a hedgehog.
Our neighbor generously hangs a bag of mangoes on our side of the fence, so I don’t have to worry if my girls are eating enough fresh fruit this month. It almost makes up for how expensive it is in the stores the rest of the year. Now I just need my pineapple plant to do something other than spike everyone that goes near it, actually get round to planting banana trees, and get that watermelon patch going …