Keepin' It Magic – Kiwi Fruit
My 2nd grade teacher was big into dancing. Every year she put on a Hawaiian-themed recital for the parents – a big production, a luau complete with food and dancing. Mrs. Fortier gathered all the girls before the recital and organized us in a single line. She walked up to each one of us and with pride and affection clipped a flower pin above our right ear. I remember selecting a pink flower – and to this day, it lays front and center on my dresser next to my most precious jewelry. It’s a constant reminder of how one amazing teacher left a huge impression on my life.
The recital was during the day so only a small handful of parents attended. Halfway through my last dance, one hand on my hip and the other waving in front of me, I saw my mother creep in. She didn’t search the gymnasium for me when she entered. Instead she silently walked along the bleachers and quickly found a place to sit. If she had looked for me first, she would’ve seen the surprised look on my face and then a big phat grin.
She arrived in time for the best part – the feast. My mother and I each grabbed a plate and chose different things from the buffet. We sat on the floor, my back against the wall and her back facing the bleachers. The gymnasium felt huge, my mother looked tiny in her white uniform. We carefully placed our plates on our designated placemats. I looked at her, waiting for the cue that I could take my first bite. I watched her cut a piece of kiwi in half and place one piece on my plate. She told me it was a very special fruit and that it was very expensive. I didn’t hesitate. I swooped it up with my fork and ate it in one bite. It was sour. I’m not sure I even liked it but I asked for more.
I never asked how she knew about the recital, how she figured out to ask for time off (did my father know?!), or why she came. Our family had been in the States for only a few short years – my parents were relentless about working every possible minute to save money to start their own business. Even at my young age I understood how special that moment was… if felt like we were both playing hooky, on a vacation somewhere exotic. No work, just chillin’, listenin’ to Hawaiian music while eating kiwi. Magic.
From that day forward, kiwifruit has always been a living form of magic for me. And years later my mom busted out another piece of magic – this time, golden. Koreans always end each meal with fresh fruit. One evening at their restaurant, my mother was slicing fruit after dinner. It resembled a kiwi but it clearly wasn’t. The meat of the fruit wasn’t green, it was golden. I looked at it oddly. My mom threw me a sly glance. Have I ever tasted a golden kiwi? My expression said it all – nope.
I expected to eat kiwi every day during our STMT X New Zealand sourcing trip. But you know what? I didn’t eat any kiwifruit. And that was ok. Part of the magic is believin’ in it. Just because we’re adults and understand how a magician creates an illusion doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate it and feel the joy of magic. Every day we’re travelin’, and what keeps it magic? Still getting M-F’in excited over kiwifruit.