Monday, June 23, 2008

Nothing Says Summer Like a Peach Mojito

Say Hello to Mammaw.

Mammaw turned 93 on May 29th. She celebrated this milestone in an assisted living facility where she was recuperating. Recuperating from her brief stay in hospice care where she decided one thing she was not going to do was die of boredom. A few weeks ago, she moved back home to Haywood Estates Retirement Community where she is shunning her walker for a cane and whipping the other gray hairs at Mexican Train. This upcoming week, I fully expect her to take up salsa dancing. Or to start umpiring for the Braves.

Last summer, back when Mammaw was only 92, she spent hours peeling and slicing fresh South Carolina peaches for us to freeze.

(As an aside, you know how Georgia's nickname is the Peach State? South Carolina, whose nickname refers to a tree I could not identify if my life depended on it, actually produces far more peaches than does Georgia. They produce so many, in fact, that they are second in production only to...drum roll, please...California. So basically this post is for my limited Carolina and California readership who will be buying fresh peaches for $0.25/lb. all summer. Georgia, of course, would say that their peaches are higher quality which is how they ended up with their nickname in the first place, but in this recipe, even a peach from Colorado grown in a hydroponic greenhouse would taste terrific. And with that, I conclude this 5th grade social studies lesson.)

At the end of Mammaw's peachy marathon, we probably had 6 or 7 bags of frozen peaches in our freezer - which I fully intended to use on pancakes, make pies out of, etc.. Except that I kind of forgot that they were in there until I came across a recipe for Peach Mojitos in the June 2008 issue of Cooking Light.

It was about two weekends ago, and Jeff and I were in one of 20 planes sitting out on the runway in Chicago waiting for the wind to die down so we could take off. Wind that so rocked the plane even when parked that I was heavily dreading the moment when someone sitting comfortably up in the control tower decided United Flight 190 to Grand Rapids should chance it. Adding to my fear was our cowboy of a pilot who kept telling us in an eager, hopeful voice that he really thought we should be allowed to take off since our flight wasn't that long.

Really? Duration of flight comes into play when you still have to fly OVER A WALL OF WATER to get to your final destination? To say I found this logic to be somewhat unnerving would be an understatement. Especially since we had been nearly blown off the runway flying into Chicago several hours earlier.

So when I happened upon this picture the only thing I could think was:

Where is the bartender already?

It's a joke, people.

I know they call them flight attendants now. But for a moment, I did wish we were sitting up in first class rather than in the tail of the airplane, because the seats are bigger up there and I would have climbed directly into Jeff's lap and curled up into fetal position. Instead, I had to resort to squeezing the life out of his hand as if I were a starving python while trying to mentally conjure up the contents of my freezer, desperately hoping it held even one small bag of frozen peaches. Preferably one without freezer burn.

When it comes to air travel, I am not exactly a pillar of strength. Which is strange because when I was 17-years old, I actually spent three days learning to fly (yawn), followed by three more days of piloting a little turboprop (indescribably awesome) all over Kenya with 7 other slightly geeky kids. Geeky only because there were cooler things we could have done with our week, such as: climb Mt. Kilimanjaro or Mt Kenya, track game, learn to scuba dive, study Asian cultures in Mombasa, visit the island of Lamu, or ride 800 miles on a piki. Jeff went on Piki Safari with his Yahama 500 which, seriously, was not any safer. At one point he attempted to jump over a dirt mound using a sand ramp and ended up flying 15+ feet over the handlebars of his bike.

The experience itself was called Interim and was designed to be an opportunity for juniors and seniors to dabble and explore outside the realm of our usual academic classroom setting. And lest you think I'm exaggerating, I just dug out my old photo albums and took pictures of the notes I took during "flight school" for you.
Here, for example, is a picture of the Ascent procedure. As you can see from the detailed diagram I drew in "training", it appears to be a very complex process. Also, that I seem pretty excited about the Cruise! part of the ride. Probably because Top Gun had come out the year before and, well, Pete and Melanie Mitchell did have a certain ring to it. Top Gun may have been the reason I picked Aviation Interim over snorkling down at the beach. I simply do not recall.

Equally complicated, were the directions for Descent. It is obvious to see that when landing, it's important to fly in a rectangular shape as opposed to flying in an oval shape when you are taking off. Also, to try to hit the runway. Which never looked like that since all of the runways we used were comprised of grass and dirt. And we usually had to buzz them first in an effort to clear the grazing wildlife/cattle. At the bottom of the page you'll note I wrote Downwind and underlined it three times. This is information the pilot who flew us into Chicago could have used.

Here I am either trying to take off or land. One thing we know for sure, scrapbooking has never been my forte. My photojournalistic creativity even as far back as 1989 can be summarized with the words, "Me in Plane".

Lastly, here is a picture of my refueling the plane with what looks to be a pasta pot. That is disturbing. As are my turquoise socks, peg legged jeans, enormous teal shirt, permed hair, and the fact that my future husband thought I was attractive.

Needless to say, while dabbling there were plenty of opportunities for death being that the two planes flown were piloted by kids using diagrams like mine and a couple of MAF instructors who had a thing for zero gravity drops. At no point while we were in the air was it ever smooth sailing. We lived for the thrill of turbulence and the next hot air current that would cause the plane to buck a little. I loved it. I did not fear unusual weather patterns. I did not have to meditate on summery adult beverages when the plane lifted a little in a warm air current. I used to be a real Maverick when it came to flying. Which is what makes my current aerophobia all the more perplexing.

As Jeff and I deplaned in Michigan, the pilot cheerfully remarked that people pay for that kind of ride at Carowinds. I contemplated kicking him in the shins but decided against it as that would have slowed my race into the terminal and onto solid ground. Fortunately, the trip back to Charlotte was much smoother. Best of all, look what I found in our freezer when we got home.

Don't anyone tell Mammaw we didn't use them in a pie.


  1. AHhhhh..someone else who knows that Georgia is full of it with their peach identity! I was just telling someone about that recently =)

  2. Really, how ever did I get to have the best sister in the entire universe? Seriously, I must have done something good somewhere...

  3. Learning to fly had to be way cooler than the snorkeling interim--which I was stuck on since they canceled the scuba one! And, hey--weren't those my socks?!

  4. The cancellation of scuba was actually how I ended up on Aviation as well. What they needed was a Piki Safari for chicks.