Citrus as the challenge for this weeks Illustration Friday? It did not ring a bell within me. The dictionary whispered that it is the family of citrus fruits, oranges included. This got me to the dwarf tree that my grandparents had in their sitting room for years. It stood there in full dwarf size glory bathing in light from outside.
Now the thing with this little tree was that it sometimes flowered and made very small oranges. Flowers and oranges could be seen together as well! I had never seen something like that. Normal would be to have first the flower and then the fruit. Not with this tree.
Then one year we children challenged my father to get a small orange and taste it. Now you have to know that my father will only eat an orange that is sweet. And sweet has to be sweet to a very high degree, only the ultrasweet ones. As if the orange has forgotten that it is an orange and can be a little sour too.
As children we eat lots of oranges but daddy was rarely persuaded to join us. Too many times the oranges taste was a disappointment with him. When he eats an orange not sweet enough, he puts his face in a most particular expression, as if he eats a sour lemon. I might actually ask him to eat an orange this week so I can photograph him.
So on we were pretty good at persuading him and he said yes. Perhaps also curious himself after those years. With much love he took one small orange, as big as a small pingpong ball and he softly peeled it with his sweet and loving hands. We all looked in quiet expectation: my grandparents, my mum and us children and some dogs. What would he say and even better what would his face tell us about the sweetness of it?
He looked horrified at the first bite he had, it was super-sour. Not a treat for him but we all had a great laugh. He looked great with his face all wrinkled and eyes closed. He drank a lot of coffee and water after that to loose the taste. But at least now we knew better than to try and eat one ourselves.
The tree has moved house with the death of my grandfather and is now with my father. It is well taken care of with a new pot and new special earth. It is not flowering at the moment and it needs a lot of love. If any one can let it have oranges again, leave my dad to it. His sweet hands, patience and his dislike for oranges at the same time will take good care of it.