Living with fruits

WHEN I LIVED in Puerto Rico a million years ago, there was a lime tree in my yard. Whenever I made a Cuba libre, I had only to step outside to pluck a lime.

I don’t drink Cuba libres anymore — and I cannot fathom why I ever did due to their cloying sweetness — but I still live with fruit trees in my yard.

Some were already here when we purchased the lot almost 14 years ago, and some were gifted to us by a friend who brought them up, unannounced, from the tierra caliente.

We have a loquat, two pears, a peach and a sour orange. There was also a fig when we arrived, but it was removed to add a carport. The biggest bugaboo is the peach, which tosses crap on the grass nonstop in summer.

If I had total say, I’d remove the entire lot of them. I’m not a fruit man, but my child bride is fruit for fruits, so there they stay. I would like an avocado, but we don’t have that.

And we’re not gonna.

The sole plus to this plethora of fruit is that if you squeeze sour orange over a bowl of pineapple, yum!New Image

And there’s the organic element. Our fruit is organic, which is to say we do nothing to them one way or the other. It makes me feel like a freaking hippie.

Algiers to San Juan

freighterIN THAT TIME, and I imagine it’s the same now if the Mississippi River hasn’t been rerouted or New Orleans shipped off to better weather in Tennessee, you could stand at the ferry landing at the foot of Canal Street and see Algiers Point on the far riverbank.

It wasn’t the Algiers of Africa — though confusion was conceivable — it was the Algiers of southern Louisiana where I lived alone for a while in a shotgun house with a pressed-tin ceiling, and I had a black BSA motorcycle too.

The day dawned when I wearied of driving a Yellow Cab, and since I had a good bit of newspaper experience and an adventuring heart, I applied for work in the Caribbean — The San Juan Star in the capital of Puerto Rico. I was roundabouts the age of 30, one divorce behind, another waiting ahead like a poised axe.

I got the job, but I didn’t want to leave the BSA behind, so I headed to the shipping area of Sealand freighters and asked what had to be done to sail the bike to the balmy islands. Just drop it off here, I was told.

So the morning of the day I was to fly to San Juan in the afternoon, I drove the BSA to the shipping area and was told it had to be professionally boxed. Now you tell me — I said — there is no time. So they took it, as is.

Flash forward a few weeks. I took a taxi to the docks in San Juan and was pointed thataway where I found the BSA lying on its side atop a pallet. Putting a motorcycle on its side is no better than upending a Chevrolet. Yipes! I exclaimed, or perhaps it was something more nasty.

I jerked it upright and, to my amazement, it cranked almost immediately. I roared off to the beach house in Santurce where I rented a room from a sports writer and his dusky Dominican lover. A fine place to live, in part due to the large lime tree in the yard, which one likes when drinking Cuba libres. And I did.

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THE BIG TOE CONNECTION

Not far from the beach house was a housing project full of neither Swiss nor English but Puerto Ricans and so, I was told, there was a crime problem in the area. The BSA was not insured, so this was disturbing.

I purchased a roll of stout twine, and every night I parked the bike directly outside my bedroom window. Around the front wheel of the BSA I tied one end of the string. I ran it through the window and connected the other end to my big toe. This burglar alarm worked well because the BSA was never stolen.

Five months later, I left San Juan and returned to New Orleans. And I sold the BSA by putting an ad in The San Juan Star. It went quickly, and I never saw it again. It was a beautiful bike, and I miss it still.

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(Another post about the BSA and San Juan is here.)

(Another post about the shotgun house in Algiers and the pressed-tin ceiling is here.)