I’ve written about the “taste of my childhood” before, and Honeydew always laughs because there is not just one, just as I cannot choose only one favorite anything – friend, coffee, dog.  Before, I’ve referred to the “taste of my childhood” as the sun drenched pecans from our trees at Blackstone Farms and as sweet tea, too.  Freshly picked figs from my Grandma Betty’s magical yard are also included in this “taste,” as are her pomegranates.

A few weeks ago, our friendly postman handed me a beat up box with a Georgia return address and my Grandma Betty’s unmistakable penmanship on the label.  The box was heavy, and I could hardly wait to open it.  Sometimes, Grandma Betty and Sissy will send us oranges from Sissy’s trees, green peanuts from Funcle How’s fields, ready for boiling, and “real” grits – the stone ground kind.   On my mama’s side of the family, we are always thinking of our next meal!

This box did not disappoint – it was filled with about 20 pomegranates, fresh from Grandma Betty’s yard.  I danced around the kitchen, showing them off to Brother Dear and Honeydew, and naughtily threatening not to share their jeweled sweetness.  Honeydew was surprisingly excited about the pomegranates.  I rather expected him to have never tasted one, growing up on the Canadian border and all, but he gushed about their fascinating insides in honest enthusiasm.  I immediately withdrew a sharp knife from the block and sliced into the tough, dull outer skin, revealing the surprising ruby red beauty inside.

Baby It’ll apparently likes them already, as I ate three of them on the afternoon the box arrived.

Aren’t they beautiful?  Such a lush, tropical treat to savor in the warm house, looking out on the snow covered yard, and of course very timely in light of the beautiful story in Greek mythology about Persephone and why the seasons change.

If you’ve forgotten, or if you didn’t take not one, not two, but three courses in Greek (and Roman) mythology as an English major at the University of Georgia (and y’all wonder why I can’t add and subtract), Persephone was the daughter of Zeus, King of the Gods, and Demeter, Goddess of the Earth.  One day while out picking flowers with some wood nymphs (kind of reminds me that Johnny Cash song about Starkville, Mississippi), beautiful Persephone was abducted by Hades, God of the Underworld.  Demeter was devastated by the abduction of her daughter, and in her distress, abandoned her duties as Goddess of Earth, and a time that came to be known as winter swept the world, when nothing grew as Demeter’s grief cast a chill over the Earth.

Finally, Zeus couldn’t take the cries of the hungry people, and he forced Hades to return Persephone to her mother.  But Hades had tricked Persephone into eating pomegranate seeds while she was in the Underworld, and because she had consumed food while there, Persephone was doomed to spend an eternity under the Earth’s crust.  As a compromise, Hades allowed Persephone to reunite with her mother during part of the year, and it is the time that Persephone must spend with Hades underground that we now refer to as winter.  All because of a few pomegranate seeds.

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