My dream had finely come true as I planted the last of 150 mango trees. Ever since I was 5 or 6 I had wanted to have my own mango tree. Now at the age of 40 I was the proud owner of not one put many beautiful mango trees. To me this fruit was the sweetest and most beautiful of all fruits with its rich orange or yellow pulp and tropical fragrance. I stood at a distance to watch the trees sway in the wind wondering if they would survive the not so tropical weather of a winter in Homestead Florida. They still had several months of summer to grow and get strong for the winter.
I watched as a father would watch his children with great curiosity, they were not all the same, some were tall and thin and needed sticks to hold on to. Some were short and fat and had fewer leaves. Some seemed to be proud as if they knew a secret or two. They seemed to know that they were loved and had become part of the family. Others were like the black sheep of the family bent and sad looking. But I loved them all and would spend many nights watching over them to see that the frost would not kill or mane any of them.
Mangos have a way of bewitching and enticing both children and adults, you do not just like them or dislike them, no it goes much deeper than that. You loved them or hated them; there is no grey area in the mango world. With thousands of varieties spread out to all the tropical and subtropical countries of the world, the mango is the food of the people. Once only known in India the mango has now conquered the world and has become the companion of both the rich and poor. India still grows over half of the world's production of mangos and considers it the fruit of the gods.
Mangos come in all the colors of the rainbow and in all sizes, the texture also comes in many forms, from very stringy to a solid mass without any fibers. Some are sweet as honey while others can be sour and taste like medicine. The flesh of the mango looks like a miracle in itself with its bright orange or yellow custard like consistence. Mangos are used as fruit as well as vegetables; they can be used in ice-cream, juices, salads, drinks, candy, and eaten green with salt or pickled.
The trees I had planted were two year old grafted Tommy Atkins and Kent's, varieties which were known to produce excellent fruit in the humid south Florida area. The outside of the fruit had the most brilliant colors ranging from purple to a bright orange and red. To me they were the royalty of the fruit world. These trees were very expensive and had been hand grafted and watch over in a local nursery owned by an America lady and her Brazilian husband.
In the woods behind my house there was also a mango tree that was very old and produced very tiny yellow mangos that were very stringy, and bitter, these I never picked believing them to be inferior and undesirable. I had a friend from Colombia who found these tiny mangos delicious and would take them home to his wife, she once told me, "I would never trade any of these for the American kind," as she put it.
The very first year of my dream coming true it frosted very heavily and as I looked out my window I could see that all of my trees had been damaged. As the days passed not one would survive, I was heartbroken and swore not to replant. That night as I prayed before going to bed I said, "Jesus what happen to my trees?" Later in a dream I saw the old mango tree and Jesus standing next to it, He said "I am your mango tree." That summer my friend came for the tiny yellow mangos, the old tree was still standing there, he was very excited as he tried the first ripe one, he smiled and said "they have gotten sweet try them." I did and indeed they were very sweet. "Do you suppose it was the frost?" My friend said. No it was not the frost it was Gods love for me and the loss of 150 trees.
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