Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sweet Inspiration

 The citrusy smell of a peeled clementine always makes me think of the winter holidays. It doesn't seem that long ago that the season for these tiny tangerines was limited to the months right before and after Christmas, but these days you can get the mini-mandarins almost year-round, now that they are grown in California, as well as imported from not only Spain, but also Morocco and Chile.

When my oldest nephew was five, he was at my house when he enjoyed the first clementine of the new season. After eight months of deprivation, the intense flavor of it rocked him to the core. He devoured three more and then asked for paper and pencil. "How do you spell cwementine?" he asked, and once I told him, he wrote this ode:

clementine oh clementine 
all the world of clementines
clementine oh clementine
all the sea of clementines
clementine oh clementine
all the universe of clementines

Twelve years had passed when he borrowed my iPhone one evening last December at the holiday table, and launching the same app that artist Jorge Columbo has used to create several covers for The New Yorker, he painted this:

All the world of clementines...

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