I love peaches.
Maybe that’s why my little girl said what she said when she was about three.
Greta, now 32, was riding with me, all harnessed into her car seat (we put them in the front in those days … front facing, too), when she announced, “I love peaches, so my nickname should be Peachie.”
Except she didn’t love peaches. She didn’t even like them.
While we gave it a pretty good try, her self-proclaimed nickname did not stick. Through the years, however, I would, and still do, trot it out, just for fun. “Hey, Peach,” I might write in a text message.
Her mom ran with it longer than I, applying variations such as “Peacherella,” but that was short-lived too.
I did find it pretty neat, though, that when it came time to select a college Greta picked Savannah College of Art & Design in Savannah, Georgia. Yep, the Peach State.
I, the true peach lover, was overjoyed. Imagine, I thought, eating freshly grown Georgia peaches every time I visit Greta.
I couldn’t find a single peach in the whole state.
I’m not kidding. Wish I were.
We often drove to Savannah (12 or 13 hours, but my wife and I adore road trips) and the first time we did I saw a bunch of signs for South Carolina peaches. Tempting, but I wasn’t about to eat a South Carolina peach with genuine Georgia peaches just a couple of hours down the road.
“Didn’t you see signs for peaches in South Carolina?” I was asked at the first place I tried to buy peaches in Georgia. “You shoulda stopped there.”
“Yeah, we don’t have any peaches.”
It was the same story everywhere I went. There was not a single peach to be had in the Peach State.
“There’s a peach on your license plate, for cryin’ out loud,” I shouted in frustration at one roadside stand. It was met with a shrug.
My son followed his sister to Savannah, so I got to hear there were no peaches in Georgia for a full nine years.
You know where there are peaches, though?
I could have kissed Linda Mancinelli when I saw baskets full of them at the Brace’s Orchard stand at the Pittston Farmers Market last week. I knew her husband Jerry would understand.
There were big, plump, juicy yellow peaches, with their marvelously fuzzy skin. And smooth white peaches with their more subtle color and unique flavor. I went for a large basket of each.
I ate two in the car on the way home. Yes, unwashed. Don’t judge me.
I’ll be eating my fill of local peaches the rest of the summer.
And thumbing my nose in the direction of Georgia.
Figuratively speaking, of course.