Today would have been my momâ€™s 81st birthday. She passed away 11 years ago but I still think of her often. Oddly, you see more of your parents in yourself than most folks would like to admit, and hopefully, you just get more of the good rather than the bad traits. It must be a function of getting older too that your memory banks seem to be more full than the current inboxâ€¦ so I thought of mom recently and wondered what tropical fruit she might like to have on her birthday, considering that so many are currently in season and she was a big fruit fan. Would it be a luscious sweet, slightly sandy chico? Or perhaps her beloved papayas to flush out the pipes? What about a nice ripe Cebuano mango? Several sections of langka? Would she lovingly remove the eyes of a sweet pineapple and carve grooves around the fruit like a barberâ€™s pole? Or would she eschew fruit altogether in favor of a Boholano ube to be made into her favorite ube jaleya? If I know my mom, she would want it allâ€¦ But I think she would have also appreciated a simple bowl of lanzonesâ€¦
Up here in Manila, we are used to seeing lanzones later in the year, say July and August, but down South, where the bulk of local lanzones apparently grow, the season is earlier in the year. So when I spied the last remnants of lanzones in Cebu a couple of weeks ago, I sent someone to the Carbon market to buy me a few kilos. They were a day short of their ripest (actually, mom used to eat them when the skins started to discolor, saying they were sweetest then, just before turning rotten) and while good, not outstanding. Never mind, itâ€™s the thought that countsâ€¦and this bowl of lanzones, if left a day or two longer to achieve maximum sweetness, would have been devoured by my mom for sure! She would methodically open the fruit by squeezing it a certain way, and none of the flesh would have gone to waste, and a minimal amount of the sticky sap would soil her fingers. Somehow, her bitter green seeds always seemed cleaner than mine ever willâ€¦ Isn’t it weird what minute details you remember of a person who has passed away? Happy Birthday Mom!