Thursday, March 17, 2011

ON DRIVING INTO DITCHES AND MARKETING PLUMS (EXCERPTS FROM LETTERS TO AND FROM FRIENDS ON THE SUBJECT OF PLUM CONTROL)


Remember when you asked me what I was going to do with all those plums? I don't think I gave any details about the misadventure I alluded to in "reaching down INTO a ditch is better than getting stuck in one," so they are included here.
    My neighbor in America, D, who is the very best cook and also a marketing genius had some ideas for me (see way below). She was SO right about me and the plum situation. On Saturday, we walked through the woods to a festa in B, a tiny village of 54 people, of whom I knew 2. This being such a small world, these same lovely people often pop up on my very limited traffic pattern. 

    One, I first encountered after stalling and falling into a ditch. I didn't know who the heck she was, but we met as I was walking home after having to abandon the car in the middle of what can only loosely be termed our "road" (and with the non-working phone with which I had intended to call Farmer G for help). Something made me say to her, "Signora, I am so sorry, but I don't think you will be able to get by my stalled car." She kindly asked if I needed help, but I was on my way to call Farmer G from U's working phone. My daughter-in-law, who can figure out anything, was willing to come to see if we could get the car going without help, but just then the nice lady showed up at our door and said to hop in her van--that her father was going to pull us out with his tractor. I was amazed that she had found our house, and I said that I was just about to call Farmer G for help. Then she laughed and said, 'FARMER G IS MY FATHER!!" So by the time we got to the embarrassing scene of the crime, there were 3 G's at the ready, with a tractor and a rope. It took Farmer G, his brother, and son-in-law no time at all to free the car. I was demoralized, since it had been a big deal for me to drive all the way to A and back that day for my son's conference. I had been so proud of myself for making it home in one piece, when I committed the folly of being in second gear on a too-long incline, and stalled--OY! She couldn't have been nicer and said I shouldn't feel bad--that it happens all the time, and that people who live in the country need to help each other. Anyway, the good part is that I made a new friend who turned out to be the daughter of an old friend, and she is an organizer of the B festa in question. But I digress. And now, back to the plums...
    So we explored the village of B a bit and the beautiful little church of the Madonna della Neve, who miraculously once made it snow in August. We were about to leave when I recognized the bald husband of M, the other B inhabitant whom I knew. Even though they were about to have lunch for 12 in their tiny garden, he insisted that M would be delighted to see us, and brought us to their house. We got introduced to the whole gang and were offered homemade wine and cookies, with a bottle and supply for the walk home. If they could have squeezed 3 more people and a dog at the table, we might even have been invited to lunch. But we agreed to return later for the afternoon part of the festivities and the porchetta sandwiches which were sounding plenty good to our starving selves.
     Here comes the plum part. I decided I needed to bring a little gift to M for having been so nice to us, and I realized that this was a golden opportunity to get rid of a bunch of plums, So I put them into a nice container tied up with a raffia bow, and as we were walking into the village, a guy came up to me and said, "Where did you buy those gorgeous plums?--clearly an enthusiastic potential customer. I was excited to tell him that I had found them in my very own garden, but it is clear that D was absolutely right about their market potential.
    Maybe next year I can set up a little stand, put on my babooshka, and make a killing. Of course I would share any profits with D and with the Madonna della Neve church. But it would be enough to think that my plums had found a new home. 


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 

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