I just ate a peach that made its way from the supermarket. It was big, round, and pretty--just plump enough and pliant enough. You might say it smelled “pleasant”--but truth be told, it just didn’t taste good. I should have known it was far too pretty to trust. We all know the type: it’s the kind of fruit that looks the part--but ends up tasting mushy and dreadful inside.
Now let me tell you about the best fruit I had all summer—and it also just happened to be a peach! It was pretty too, but not in that slick and inflated store-bought way. It looked squat and skewed, more donut-shaped than round—just a little red squirt in the palm of my hand. Mahmoud had placed it there himself--from a tree that grows quietly in our Columbus back yard. He had planted that tree seventeen years ago as a birthday gift to me . . . in memory of the fruit trees I had loved in Iran.
What did it taste like? Like sunlight and nectar infused with raindrops. Like sweetness wrapped up in fuzz and satin. Like the almonds and apricots that used to perfume our patio back in Iran. Like my father-in-law’s nectarine trees and the color orange. Like the fresh perspiration from my husband’s forehead, and hypnotic evenings in Esfahan.
One, two, three nips and it was gone. But the taste of nostalgia ... that's another matter.
Dr. Leslie Ahmadi discovered her intercultural calling in her parents’ home at age four--where between the jazz, the spirituals, and the rock ‘n roll music, she heard folk songs in languages from around the world. Thirty years later she had a doctorate in foreign language and culture education--and her folk song guitar never far away.