Friday, February 27, 2009

Memories of a Caimito Tree

Earlier this morning I saw a fruit vendor peddling caimito (star apple) and I was suddenly hit by nostalgia. Vivid memories of my grandparents' home just filled my head and it was like I was a kid again. It was like being transported back to their home in the province and seeing the backyard where lots of fruit-bearing trees have provided the family, and sometimes the neighbors, with sweet treats.

There was a big caimito tree that consistently produced its sweet fruits that we all enjoyed eating especially during the summer. I remember we used to fill baskets with its fruits. Probably the only tree that grew as big, if not bigger, than the old caimito tree was the mango tree that stood near the fish pond. And it also rivaled the caimito tree in frequency and sheer number of produce it gave us through all those years. Apart from those two biggies, there were a number of other trees like cacao, pomelo, guava, balimbing, calamansi, and langka (jackfruit) as well as bananas and a whole bunch of other vegetables and plants.

My childhood years in that home was probably one of the best times of my life. I never thought much about it but I now believe that a strong family bond started to form in me during those years. It was a place where everyone in the family stayed for long periods of time especially during summer breaks and holidays. It was where simple needs are met and nature's abundance and generosity is within arms reach.

I wonder if the caimito tree still stands where it used to stand tall and proud a few feet from the back of the house. I'm curious if the small pond still has its small pagoda structure and the little stone dwarves with their frozen smiles and happy faces. I suddenly long to see that place again.

I haven't been visiting my grandparents' home much since my lola died ten years ago and after my lolo remarried and moved to Cebu. My lolo's death last month has caused me profound grief that I can't fully quite understand. Maybe the reason for the magnitude of such grief is a feeling of losing someone who was part of that foundation of childhood memories I have.

(Image found on the Internet)

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