No Georgian has to look at a calendar to know that it is now July in Georgia. There is ample evidence that sauna-time has hit the Southland. Just step outside and be greeted with the invisible monsoon. Summertime is defined in Georgia as “you gonna sweat a lot.” Well, at least, men will sweat. In the South, women simply glisten.
Another tell-tell sign of summer are the roadside stands selling boiled peanuts and fresh fruits and vegetables. Boiled in salted water for hours, these soft-shelled salty peanuts are a delicacy to some and a mystery to Yankees. This Southern boy, however, foregoes the soft and salty option in favor of the “sweet and juicy” one. This past week, I stopped by one such stand when my eyes caught sight of a basket of our beloved state fruit – peaches.
Growing up in the Peach State, one could hardly be more blessed than to enjoy a delicious peach in a perfect state of ripeness. You know perfection when one bite results in your taste buds doing the Happy Dance while peach juice overflows down both sides of your mouth. A towel is always a prerequisite when eating a peach.
I have spent countless hours contemplating peach cobbler, peach ice cream, peach pound cakes, peach preserves, peach milkshakes or just peaches and cream. I remember many a lazy, hot summer day when my family would get out the hand-cranked ice cream maker and churn churn churn until the peach and cream mixture hardened into a homemade version of pure delight.
I can only imagine that the Lord had yummy on His mind when He conceived of this delectable fruit. Either that or being aware that the heat of a Georgia summer might remind us sinners of Hell, He wanted to give us a taste of Heaven. Yes – God was in a very good mood when he created peaches.
I must confess to loving strawberries and blueberries too. But peaches are in a category by themselves. Do you know of another fruit used as a name for pets? Some husbands even nickname their wives “Peaches.” The use of the fruity sobriquet in any context always conveys a positive tone. Think “peachy keen” or “everything is peaches ’n cream” or “sweet as a peach.”
Honesty compels me to admit, to the utter shame of all Georgians, that South Carolina is reputed to have overtaken Georgia in peach production. I have gotten over that embarrassment. The world can only be a better place if we have more peaches. People are always in a better state of mind when eating peaches.
My wife thinks I moved near Augusta, Georgia to marry her. It is just coincidence that I am now closer to South Carolina. Yep, pure “peachy keen” coincidence.
Now all I need to do at this moment is find a towel. “Pass the peaches dear.”