In honor of winter and snow – I am going to do a series on my memories of Florida winters. I am doing one of the few ‘bad’ memories first.
The place was Sarasota, Florida.
The year was 1980-something.
My dad and brothers worked at the local citrus-packing plant. I remember so well the day my father brought home a huge bin of oranges. The plant he worked at was a high-end citrus gift shop, and they only sold 1st class fruit. Somehow my father got a chance at a bin of the culls, and he took them. To a 6-year-old little girl, that bin looked enormous.
The next day, my mom brought a bunch of little brown paper sacks out, and filled them with the nicest looking oranges. Then she tucked several bags into the basket on my bicycle, and told me to go ’round to every house on our street, and knock at the door. When someone answered, I was to ask them if they wanted to buy some tree-ripened oranges. I think they were 1-2 dollars per bag.
I was unsure – but started out. I’d take a bag of oranges and walk up to a door, knock or ring the doorbell, and wait. When someone came to the door, I would politely ask if they wanted to buy some oranges.
After a few streets, I getting tired of the routine – but I wanted to sell more before going home. I walked up to a particularly nice house, and rang the doorbell. A lady came to the door, and when I asked her if she wanted some oranges, she got a strange, annoyed look on her face. I will never forget what she said:
“But I have orange trees in my yard! See? Right there! Why would I want to buy any oranges?”
I was so embarrassed and humiliated. How could I have totally not seen the trees? But I hadn’t. Although they were rather small – still, how could I have missed them? I stammered out a weak apology, and left as fast as possible – my cheeks burning with shame.
I think that was the last house I visited that day. I just couldn’t face another stranger. It wasn’t the last time I sold oranges – nor the last kind of fruit I ‘peddled’ from door to door. It was just the first time, and the most memorable. But believe me – I never repeated that mistake ever again. I always looked carefully for orange trees before going to some one’s door.
This is the kind of bike we rode in Florida.
Stay tuned for more Florida memories!