My Dad’s Mangos

My dad had a green thumb in life. I inherited about half of it; I can make seeds sprout, but keeping them alive is always a work-in-progress.

He planted dozens of trees and plants in our backyard: royal palms, hibiscus bushes, a jackfruit tree that didn’t survive a hurricane, and mango trees. Lots of mango trees.

Thanks to hurricane season playing out over thirty years, give or take, many of the trees went down. Any oranges we get are fresh from the store, and I last tried jackfruit while having a meal with my sister. We don’t hack the coconuts from the yard because none of us like the fruit enough to buy a machete and hack at it. My dad did, but we all silently agreed a machete was too dangerous after he died with several preteens in the house. Plus, the machete had rusted the last time I saw it. While the key lime survived Hurricane Katrina, a handyman cut it down by accident.

The mangos have outlasted them all. They also multiplied; about three trees sprouted and grew where the hibiscus bushes waned. Hybrid mangoes would emerge, hard and green so they’d whack you in the face if you didn’t watch where you were going. The squirrels and birds love them.

I’m not a mango fan; the fruit is too sweet for me, and the scent made me gag as a kid. With that said, it’s nice to see them having survived the odd hurricane, that definitely killed the jackfruit. The trees have thick trunks, and the branches are hard to cut when they need a trim. The leaves sway in the breeze, especially when the season arrives.