The peaches come from Andy Mariani’s orchard in Morgan Hill. They’re so fragrant that I can smell them all the way on the other side of the room. Andy has been growing stonefruit for many years and it shows in the color of his fruit, in the aroma, and the flavor. You can’t get peaches like these in Safeway. You have to come to Andy’s wooden country store on Half Road.
I come here often in the summer – maybe three times a week – and I always bend down to read the index cards set above the fruit.
A story behind every peach and every plum. This fits right in with A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler. Things in this novel always have a story: a spool of blue thread, a blue-painted porch swing, six cheesecloth ghosts that hang from the porch every Halloween.
Here’s what’s amazing to me: Anne Tyler always gives us a character who is bad. Mean-hearted. And yet, by the end of the novel, I understand that person’s heartache and see what they have in common with me. I have a sense of what the blue thread and all these other things mean.
I come home with my small bags of peaches and plums. I choose two peaches, one a bright gold-yellow with just a hint of pink in its fuzzy skin and the other a deep, lush red. I cut them into slices, put some slices in a bowl for me and some in a bowl for Brad. I carry his bowl to him. He is still on the phone, still typing but at some point he tastes and looks over at me. “Good peach.” He mouths it but I understand. When he’s off the phone he comes over with his empty bowl.
“Where’d this bowl come from?” And I think about a thrift store in Santa Fe and my friend Minna Maryanov, who was with me when I bought this bowl.
“It’s a good story,” I tell Brad.