Sugar On Top

My grandma would give me papaya when I was a child and sprinkle the fruit, already sweeter than sweet, with sugar.

I’d look at the two halves, that beautiful coral colour and the round black pearls stuck there not wanting to leave. The fruit was enormous and its aroma would invade my nostrils. It’s size was a testimony to the strength of the sun – it just kept on growing, growing, growing until it was ripe and perfect.

Many days and nights passed and adventures of the mundane kind happened. We eventually moved across the globe and aged, lost some of the laughter that comes with sunny, carefree days, our new lives becoming more indoors-oriented and involving fewer papayas. (Close to zero papayas, but who’s counting.)

Some 35 years later, that same grandma is now self-isolating and one day, we decided to drive over with our three-year-olds. We parked the car on the empty front yard of her apartment building and, holding the boys, waved to her. My grandma had opened the window of her 4th floor apartment and we chatted, heads tilted up, her head facing down.

But, true to her nature, that wasn’t all. She had prepared a little surprise for her great-grandkids. Like a long-haired princess in a tower, she had attached a long string to a little bag which she then lowered from the window slowly, ever so slowly. The bag’s journey downwards was a spectacle of its own, very much appreciated by two pairs of eyes aged three, the bag traveling and bumping and descending, approaching the ground with confidant curiosity. The string seemed never-ending.

And guess what wonders the bag held? Upon opening, the traveling tote revealed two ice creams for the boys.

Ice creams! (I scream for ice cream! A voice in my head recalls an 80’s moment. The girl in my memory is barely older than the boys licking ice cream now.)

Slurp, slurp. Great-Grandma is funny! the boys exclaimed while ice cream was melting on one boy’s chin and the other’s coat, on a close-to-zero winter day. Even two weeks later, Great-Grandma was funny that day!

More funny moments, please. I hope those two little boys get to taste large papayas one day. The ones we get imported over here are tiny. It’s not the same, not even close.

The photos are from Aruba, 2012 (almost a decade ago!)


73 responses to “Sugar On Top

  1. Aw your grandmother is so kind! I am sure that made your boys very happy. I love papayas too. I love all the exotic fruits and veggies especially after I moved to Europe haha. Never cared for them when I was in Nepal where they’re so delicious. Papayas, lychees, mangoes.. nothing is the same here.
    The first photo is breathtaking โค

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah exotic fruit is really not the same once picked raw and imported across the globe! And by exotic I also mean ordinary fruit like oranges and avocado – they are not the same when removed from where they grow! A bit like us people too, I guess. Take care, Pooja xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahh, there you have it, a sweet memory of the life-time also preserved in this way. Imagine, they will grow up under the impression that these things happen, the quarantine, sick people, ice-cream from the sky. Nobody told us. Or about papaya… I never tasted one. ๐Ÿ™‚ Lovely memory and images.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a lovely post! My own mother also always sprinkled sugar on melon, and strawberries. She crushed the strawberries with a fork to release the juice and, to this day, I sometimes do the same. The boys will remember that day, even though theyโ€™re small. X

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wonderful gift from grandma in these extraordinary times! Such a lovely thing to do for the boys and here’s hoping you’ll all be able to taste a true papaya again one day ๐Ÿงก

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How lovely, your little boys will remember those ice creams for a long time. Your visit would have made your Grandmother happy too. I hoe she is coping well and managing to get her food shopping delivered. Let’s hope it’ll all be over soon,I think we all want our old lives back. Take care all of you x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a nice image and what a great idea by your grandmother. Your boys might well remember that event more than the general situation of this pandemic. If you hadn’t identified your photos I was going to ask where in Finland they were taken!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What beautiful memories, and Iโ€™m sure those ice creams lowered to your children during these strange times will form fond memories for them too. That visit was a great gift for your grandmother, and your children. I had papaya sprinkled with a squeeze of lime juice once. It was gorgeous. We donโ€™t get good papaya in the south of Australia though. Itโ€™s one of those fruits thatโ€™s only really nice if eaten where it grows.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well compared to us, you donโ€™t live very far away from papayas, after all! ๐Ÿ˜ Back when I was a flight attendant, whenever we flew back to Europe from Thailand, the crew would get papaya with lime juice with our catering, so I know what you mean! ๐Ÿค—


  8. I am trying to picture ice creams coming down in a bag on a string! Such a cute story; your grandma sounds like a positive and wonderful person, and I hope your boys get many more years with her around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh but you have lovely treats like apricots over there, over here they are close to inedible. Even something as simple as an orange is so much tastier where it grows. The Mediterranean climate is perfect for so many fruits ๐Ÿ˜ Do you miss SA?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Loved this post, especially the title. I remember my grandmother once making a giant chocolate cake with fudge frosting. She gave me a piece then when I asked for another – I was five – she looked over her shoulder to make sure my Mom wasn’t listening, and whispered, “Don’t tell your mother” as she sliced me another piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a lovely story! If you hadn’t mentioned it was a near-zero winter’s day, I would have continued imagining a bright summer day (probably because of the warm photos you included).
    I’m not a fan of papaya, but I’ll eat it if it’s offered to me. I’d much prefer a mango! ๐Ÿ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

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