Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bitter To The End

We stop at a park in Homosassa, FL, because it's just too beautiful to
ignore. (See Allen's picture above).

Live Oaks sweep their gracious arms in welcome. Palm shrubs fan a
gentle breeze. Spanish moss drips and dangles everywhere. It's so old-
fashioned. It's like the Florida of my youth. And it's peaceful

On one side of the street is a picnic grove. On the other, ruins of
the Yulee Sugar Mill (the picture below shows the sugar cane press, where
the juice was rolled out of the cane).

We walk the dogs through the grove then just inside the forest's
edge, where palms entwine with other vegetation, creating a natural
arch that beckons us deeper. Deeper, however, reveals more trash than
romance, so we retrace our steps back to the picnic area. That's when
I spy the orange trees. Full of oranges.

The fruit is too high in the tree to reach. It's ripe, I can tell, and
it's ready to plop into my hands, if I can only find something to
knock them off the tree. Like a stick. Or rock. I scout around and
find, VOILA! A beautiful, perfect, blemish-free orange right on the
ground, ready for me to scoop up and take home.

So, I scoop it up and sniff. Sweet. Orange blossoms. A real Florida
orange. Mine. All mine. OK. I might share it with Allen, after dinner.

We finish our excursion by touring the ruins, then it's back into Otto
and back on the road. I think often of my orange. My special orange.

After dinner, Allen Googles Homosassa and discovers the plantation
grew more than sugar cane. It was famous for ORANGES! The plantation
was one of the first in the state to grow sweet oranges budded from
sour stock.

In honor of his discovery, I peel my orange, savoring the sweet,
earthy aroma spritzing from the peel. I accidently rip into one of the
section and quickly lap up the escaping juice.

And shudder. My sweet find is sour. Very sour. Inedible.

But, perhaps historic. Yes. I like to think my orange, my special
orange, is part of the original sour stock from which evolved an
entire industry. It was just too beautiful to ignore.

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