The time has come round again. Our local corn is ripe. You can tell because the price of corn drops abruptly. We used to get ten ears for a dollar, but inflation has arrived, so now they are selling it at five ears for a dollar. I love fresh corn and am always pleased when we can get it fresh and for so little money.
“I should buy the fifth ear,” I say, conversationally to the woman shucking corn next to me. “But there are just two of us. What can I do with a fifth ear?”
“I know,” she says. “There are four of us and that fifth ear, well …” She stopped and thought. “It’s pretty good the next day, even cold.”
“True,” I said. And I shucked the fifth ear and tucked it in the bag with the other four. We had two of them yesterday and I cooked three today. One is sitting on the counter. Who will eat it? It might be me. Later, but first … cherries.
It is not just corn season. It’s fresh cherry season. The season is short. You’ve got three, maybe four weeks during which time cherries are delicious and cheap. After that, the price goes up while the quality goes down. I buy as many cherries as I believe I can possibly eat and believe me, that’s a lot of cherries. I knew I was eating a lot of cherries last night when I discovered the tips of my fingers and fingernails are dyed red.
My tongue is sore.
My tongue started bothering me last week. It felt just like a pizza burn. My lips and gums were also sore. I thought maybe it was the pizza we’d eaten the week before, but as the days dragged on, I began to worry. When you come from a family with a lot of cancer in it — and have had it twice yourself — when something feels strange or wrong, you wonder if you’ve come down with a new form of cancer. Oral cancer? I had been running doom and gloom statistics in my head for the past few days. I decided to comfort myself with a bowl of cherries.
As I was biting down, I could feel a slight burning in my gums and when I pushed the pit out of the cherry, I had an epiphany. My tongue was sore from popping the pits out of cherries. It was also why my tongue, gums, and lips were all hurting. There’s a lot of acid in cherry juice and for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been having a deeply intense and personal cherry experience.
Cherry tongue! My tongue is sore from pushing out pits.
I tapped Garry. He took off his headphones and looked at me.
“My tongue is sore. My lips and gums are sore. It’s the cherries,” I announced.
“I’m sorry. You’ve lost me. Cherries?”
“Yes,” I said. “Cherries. Every day, I’ve been eating a big bowl of cherries and pushing the pits out with my tongue, It has made the tip of my tongue very sore. Where it rubs against the rough cherry pit. And the red stain on my fingers and the soreness in the rest of my mouth? Cherries. It’s all about cherries.”
He looked at me. Thought for a moment. “When,” he said, “will these tragedies stop destroying our lives?”
A fifth ear and an overdose of cherries … no respite in sight! At least, not until the cherry and corn season is over.