Yes! We Have No Bananas

Waste not, want not

Fresh bananas, practically perfect

“I need a recipe other than banana bread that uses ripe bananas.”

My daughter tells me, “I throw bananas out.” She gives me that weary look, trying not to judge, “Mom, it’s okay to throw away bananas.”

This I know. Yet if bananas sit on my counter past their eating expiration date, they beg me to use them to make something edible. Or else put them in the freezer with all the other bananas I have saved for later use.

My husband calls my freezer “Pre-trash.”

And I must admit that a lot of the frozen leftovers wind up in the trash.

What would bananas say?

Only bananas might have something to say about the different ways we look at waste.

My mother grew up during The Great Depression. She managed to transmit a fear of deprivation, the actual truth that scarcity exists for a countless many and money does not grow on trees, even if some food does.

Whether bananas were plentiful when my mom was growing up or not, I do remember from my own childhood that bananas were a special treat. My mom would buy 2 or 3 at a time. Never more. Never often.

By the time I raised my own children, I took for granted the supply of bananas. Never questioned where bananas grow or how bananas were harvested, stored and shipped to grocery stores, bananas appeared a staple in the produce section. Seldom without bumps and bruises, these tender fruits often displayed neglect or abuse from the farm to the table.

Today, I buy bananas green, wrapped in a plastic bag that slows ripening. Almost perfect to peel and eat in a day or two, I like my bananas firm and under-ripe rather than mushy. After that stage, I make banana smoothies. After that, the dilemma. Freeze of bake?

What one generation can say to the next …

Frozen bananas

Bananas got me thinking about generational differences. How we evaluate almost everything based on personal experience. How one generation has a hard time convincing the next generation that they know anything.

To have or have not, it takes having to do without something to increase its value.

Values develop based on what we crave. What we miss. What we cannot have.

If bananas were scarce, we would value bananas more.

But I live in a land of plenty where bananas at most cost $ .59 a pound.

Yet if history teaches me anything, stories from the past portend a future where things we take for granted disappear.

I guess my mom wanted to make sure I knew that.

Until a time when bananas are scarce, I will keep eating, cooking with, and freezing bananas.

There is a song: Yes! We Have No Bananas, recording 1923.

A Time to Thrive

The days are getting shorter by the minute.

From September 21 until the winter solstice, the days get shorter. Depending on a location’s latitude (how far north of the equator), daylight slips away at the rate of 3 minutes a day.

Days seem to go faster, don’t they?

Turning the calendar page in October brings both a sigh and a lament.

Slant light in the northern hemisphere brings longer shadows, changing colors and colder temperatures.

Without holidays to look forward to––especially Thanksgiving and Christmas––I might pull the covers over my head and take a Rip Van Winkle nap.

Wake me up when it’s warm.

No longer can I tell if I’m waking up in the middle of the night or if the alarm didn’t go off? Is it morning?

Wake me when sunset occurs later than 4:00 pm. When I was in Germany, it was dark by 4:30 pm each day.

Oh, how I dread fewer hours of daylight. As if I have been cheated out of what I need to survive.

Daylight Saving Time or not, the hours of sunlight per day shrinks.

We live by the clock, not a sundial.

Shorter days, longer nights and the sense that time itself tucks itself in earlier each day must mean something. Seasons change for a reason.

Autumn leaves must fall.

Slow down to thrive.

Yet each season has unique beauty. And purpose.

A time for every season and a time for every purpose under heaven.

Once school starts, pedal to the floorboard acceleration.

Activities crowd schedules and the demands on time and energy queue up, waiting a turn for focused attention. Right?

It’s like we’re stuck in second gear.

Fall gently eases people into cruise control. No shifting gears for a while. Enjoy the scenery.

Give a thought to this wonderful world we call home and the people who inhabit this world.

Sit around a table with people you love. Listen to everyone’s conversation. Look people in the eye when they speak. Each person has something to contribute.

“People would rather you hear their story than have a wish granted.” Author Marion Roach made that statement in a memoir class I took two weeks ago.

I think she’s on to something.

As the days get shorter, time to be with people, listening to their stories, I think, will nourish the roots of relationships.

Fall can be a time to thrive.

 

Want to read more about length of days?

 

 

To Kill a Mockingbird Banned, Again

Multiple copies of To Kill a Mockingbird show how much I value this book.

Yet another school district has banned To Kill a Mockingbird. Because the book makes some people uncomfortable.

Id-E-ots!

The books is supposed to make readers uncomfortable.

The book strikes at racial prejudice and injustice toward Blacks, hitting a bull’s-eye only the mindless can miss.

Like Mark Twain’s classic Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird serves as a time capsule, capturing and exposing a period in American history when a majority of people in the South hid behind racial fear and bigotry.

Read more

Dirty Dancing and Giant Revisited: Story Lines about Change

Dirty Dancing: A frame for story context, 1987

Saturday night I watched Dirty Dancing. Again.

ZAP! Hooked. In a time machine, I sat transported and transfixed.

From the vantage point of 30 years after Dirty Dancing opened in theaters, I see a lot to admire about this film.

In 1987, when Dirty Dancing made cultural shock waves, I did not watch. Or let my children see it either. Years later, I learned that my teenage daughter saw the video at a friend’s house.

Whatever.

While the movie does portray some dirty dancing, as well as admit some explicit consequences of sexual activity, dancing provides a frame for story context.

The story unfolding exposes prejudice, hypocrisy and bigotry.

The dictionary defines bigotry as the stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.

The movie is about how people can have one set of standards, values and professed ideals for themselves and yet apply another standard to those who are not like them.

Read more

Don’t Judge Las Vegas, the People or the Place


“From a distance, the world looks blue and green …”

“From a distance,” the lyrics go, “there is harmony and it echoes through the land.”

The image above shows the view from my window seat on a flight as it landed in Las Vegas, one of several trips as an adult I have made to visit a place where for years I lived as a child.

My dad helped build the original Las Vegas Convention Center. My mother held important jobs, including personal legal secretary to State Senator Mahlon Brown.

Real people live and work in Las Vegas. And yes, go out to play.

My daughter-in-law greeted me yesterday morning with these first words.

“There was a S-H-O-O-T-I-N-G in Vegas last night.”

Her eyes formed big O’s as she spelled to spare her preschoolers this tragic news. She and her husband had returned home earlier that day on a flight from Las Vegas to Housotn. My husband and I traveled from Lubbock to keep our grandsons while they had a weekend away.

Don’t judge.

Read more