Our housekeeper had warned us on Thursday.
"Those are almost ready," she told me in Spanish, pointing out the kitchen window.
"Oh, OK, I'll tell my husband," I replied, in a language sort of akin to Spanish.
The gardener warned us on Friday.
"Blah blah, blah blah blah," he mumbled to me while pointing in that same direction.
"Está lista?" Is it ready, I asked?
"OK, I'll tell my husband," I replied in my nonsensical Espanol.
I had passed these warnings on to Hubby, who then went out to check, but did nothing.
The weekend passed, and the warnings were quickly forgotten.
Until Monday afternoon, when I had returned from an outing and the girls were fresh off the bus. Mary, our housekeeper, beckoned for me to follow her to the side yard, an area we cannot readily see from the house.
Mary explained that she had torn open the bottom of the clear plastic trashbag Hubby had wrapped around them a month ago, I assumed because the greenhouse effect happening on the inside was too hot and overrippening them. I pulled the bag up to the top to get a better look.
Right away, we noticed that a few 'naners on one side had already broken away, and were hanging precariously, attached at the top by just a bit of peel.
"Oh dear!" I exclaimed, "I really need Hubs for this!" I said it in English, because I couldn't think how to translate it. Mary smiled, understanding the gist of my comments.
One banana couldn't take the peril of her situation any longer, and dropped, with a resounding thud, to the ground.
"Aye, no," Mary exclaimed, in the way Sofia Vergara does on Modern Family. "No servirle."
In other, English-type words, allow me to elaborate. With one side of the peel missing, this poor 'naner had fallen, exposed-side down, directly in the dirt. We wouldn't be able to serve that one.
We headed back in to the kitchen, Mary was getting ready to leave for the day, and I was hoping Hubs would be home a bit early to take care of the Banana Situation. But first, of course, I had to take a picture.
Grabbing my phone and sliding up the camera icon on the home screen, I set off to the backyard, grabbing two little people as I went. This was our first harvest from our tiny Backyard Banana Grove, and the girls couldn't wait to see.
I snapped my photos, listening to Miss Priss and Lil' Miss Sunshine squeal with delight at our impending crop. They pointed out the three other bunches, still green and small, that we could look forward to. Reaching up on tippy toes, they grasped at the low-hanging fruit protruding from the bottom, giggling at the novelty of picking their own fruit.
And then it happened.
Sounding a bit like a slow-moving stampede, the bananas began to fall. At first, they came from the bottom, then some more slid down from the top. I attempted to stop them, and had one land - whump! - on the top of my head.
I've heard of bruising bananas, but trust me, you don't want a banana to bruise you!
We ran back into the house, and I shouted to Mary, "Necesito ayudar! Las bananas! Caer!!!"
Mary has been with us for three months now, and is accustomed to the jarring, half-phrases that come spilling from my mouth. She headed to the kitchen to find containers. I grabbed a large knife, thinking we could cut the whole bunch down.
Back outside, The Grove was still. "Aye, no!" Mary repeated, surveying the fat yellow crescents lying at our feet.
Gingerly, I made my way to the Big Bunch, still chock-full, and set my knife against it.
And that must've been like a fire alarm to a banana, because the rest our harvest began, in twos and threes, to evacuate the tree.
The rest is a blur. Mary scrambling with one container to catch bananas in mid-air. Me helping the girls catch and dodge our falling fruit while trying to NOT stab them with my enormous knife. All the while, Prissy and Sunny screaming, in both delight and terror, at this odd and peculiar predicament.
It was like our very own backyard reenactment of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs. But with healthy food!
The falls were coming faster now, and were mostly concentrated in the center. I threw my arms up underneath, pinching my elbows together, just as a mass of bananas broke free, laddening me with a mound of fruit. We all laughed, and then I dumped them into a large plastic bowl. By now, there were a scant few left on the stalk, so Mary and I picked off the rest, then knelt down to salvage what we could from the ground.
For taking such a beating, the bananas turned out pretty alright! We carried the bounty, inside bowls and curled up t-shirts, back to the house where dirt and sticker burrs could be carefully cleaned away.
Well, Miss Priss and Miss Sunshine are looking forward to Banana Bread. Made with chocolate chips, of course.
Hubs took a big grocery-bag full to share at work.
And me? I plan to set up a table on the corner.
After all, Hubster has always wanted me to find a job so HE could stay home!