Mango is one of those fruits that just saying the word starts the salivary glands drooling which is foreshadowing to the actual eating of the fruit. A deliciously messy affair that some people only eat them in the bathtub. Tasty though it may be, the flavor last longer than most fruits due to the fact that you will not get it all out your mouth until your next flossing rolls around. I have spent good money on mango and have enjoyed every mouthful until I moved to Hawaii.
My humble little cottage sits underneath three mango trees which are currently in season and the entire place smells like an over ripe smoothie. At night, when walking outside, it is never clear if that lump under my slipper sandal is a toad or a mango, neither making much of a sound when stepped on but there is a tendency to slide a little bit more on the mango. The toad, on the other hand, dries flatter.
The trees are as high as 50 to 60 feet tall and a mango falling from that height has the potential of causing serious injury or death. Killed by a mango?! What could be closer to the absurd than that? But to clarify, it isn’t always the mango landing on your head that kills you, but the fall that subsequently occurs once knock unconscious by this favorite fruit. The dangers are very real as not more than a day ago, I was picking some up when a fruit bomb landed on the ground right in front of me with a hard thud. Had that thud been made from the mango hitting the back of my head, I would have been seeing stars and little birdies.
It was necessary to rig a tarp over my cottage to eliminate the sound of them hitting the roof which had the ring of a front end loading musket packed with squirrels being shot off. In the middle of the night the loud, “BANG!!” would jolt me out of a deep slumber thinking I was in the middle of a drive by dream.
There is a lot of mango falling and at last count an estimated 60 to 80 mangos fall each and every day. And for every mango that falls and is not picked up, 300 fruit flies take up residence to propagate their kind. It doesn’t matter that fruit flies don’t bite, as their danger comes from inhaling them and choking to death. Though there are no recorded incidents of this happening, I have found myself gagging and coughing as the little buggers were going after the mango that was stuck between my teeth.
Unable to process them all, many of these tasty treats end up turning into a brown sloppy mush which I load into a wheel barrow and dump on my banana patch. The ones that are fit for human consumption are collected with a large tarp that is suspended which catches the ones plummeting to the ground in mid-plummet. The entire thing is rigged in such a way that they roll down the tarp and into a waiting trash can lid which would have made
Rube Goldberg proud.
Each morning I gather those precious darlings, place them into a cooler and look around to find buyers or barterers. Though I have been in show business all my life, I can tell you from my own experience that selling my first harvested batch of mangos was every bit as satisfying as standing on stage receiving the applause from an audience. We as a culture are so far removed from where our food comes from that kids think chicken comes from plastic packages and cereal is grown in boxes. But I know that mangos really do fall from the sky.