Bernice told her husband, Ryan, that when she was growing up, one of the few pleasures of winter were oranges. They didn’t have a lot of money, so there were few toys under the Christmas tree. But they made do with what they had, and her brothers and sisters played with the toys rather than being bored of them a week after receiving them.
Her dad always brought home a bag of oranges in January. Something to brighten the bleak winter days, after the sound of Christmas carols had died down. The bright orange balls would be like a tropical vacation. One fruit for each person, so there was no need to share. Of course, they still argued over who got the bigger fruit.
But, in the end, they were happy to have them. Happy to slowly rip off the thick peel. Happy to smell the aroma of brilliant warmth. Happy to hold up the orange segments to the light and see the fascinating structure of the little pods of juice as they glowed with the light behind them.
When their teeth sunk into those segments and they tasted the juice, their imaginations rushed to a tropical beach. This was joy. A gorgeous day in January, a break from the chill.
Of course, they were thrilled when snow arrived, to spend days sledding, throwing snowballs, and building snowmen. That was also a joy — but much different than how the oranges brought them to somewhere else.
So when Ryan brought home a bag of oranges in January, Bernice’s eyes teared up as she embraced him and whispered, “Thank you.”
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