My mother used to joke every year that she was giving up watermelon for Lent. It was a joke because (and I’m showing my age here) watermelon was decidedly not in season and therefore not available.
That’s the way it was: you had a few weeks to enjoy whatever fruits or vegetables that were in season. If you wanted to enjoy strawberries year round, you bought as many as you could and took them home and either froze them or made strawberry jam.
But now it’s March in New England and I’m craving fresh fruit. I’m a realist. Whatever I buy this time of year is not coming from a nearby farm. It might look good in the grocery store but it is (1) expensive and (2) tasteless. I can deal with point 1, but I get cranky with point 2.
Two weeks ago, I stopped in at a Whole Foods market and bought a container of cut, mixed fruit, and….it was delicious! Fresh, ripe, AND sweet!
It tasted so good, that I returned last Friday so I could buy more fruit. I’m focused on a cup with colorful assortment of pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. So beautiful sitting there on a bed of crushed ice. I and my taste buds can’t wait to get home and savor this cup of fruit.
But wait we must.
The aisle is very narrow and a woman and her husband and their shopping cart are blocking it. She is examining other fruit cups: first the cantaloupe, then the watermelon. She picks up each cup and holds it to the light. She raises it so that she can see the bottom, then slowly turns it to see each piece of fruit. I’m surprised she didn’t pull a jeweler’s loupe out of her purse and peer through it so that she can examine the cut and clarity of each cube of watermelon.
She rejects the cup in her hand and, as she starts to return it to the bed of crushed ice, the lid pops off and the watermelon falls out of the cup and onto the ice.
Here’s an ethics question for you: What would you do? Would you walk away? Skedaddle? Go tell an employee?
Or would you do what this woman did?
She immediately scooped up the fruit and some crushed ice with her bare hands, packed it back into the cup, put the lid back on, and returned it to the display.
Then she picked up another cup, put it into her cart, and went off to fondle some broccoli.
And THAT is when I decided that I’m giving up watermelon for Lent, too.