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Home » Books & writing, Random Nerdy Stuff

Tell Me a Story about…Bananas

Submitted by on February 16, 2011 – 3:57 pm26 Comments

This past weekend, I was thinking about doing another edition of “tell me a story…” (see sample past posts here and here) in which I give you a random word and you tell me whatever anecdote or thoughts that word triggers for you. I do it occasionally when I’m sitting around with friends and the stories that emerge never fail to be interesting.

Serendipitously, while I was on Twitter today, regular PCNerdherders Poncho and Christine asked me if I’d consider playing the game again so I thought, Yes, let’s. I hollered to the hubster to give me a random word and since he was eating breakfast, he said, “Banana!” A story about banana it is.

When I was a kid living in Saigon, my family would visit my paternal grandparents every weekend. I enjoyed these visits because Grandpa always had Lifesavers candy for me and my siblings. We didn’t even have to share; he’d give us each our own roll. In Vietnam, this American candy was rare so it was a very special treat for us.

One day, my mother decided mid-week to take us for a visit. Grandpa didn’t have a phone (most people didn’t back then) so we showed up unannounced. He was dismayed that he didn’t have any candy on hand for us kids despite my mother saying he shouldn’t worry about it, that we’d gotten plenty from him in the past and could certainly do without for once. But Grandpa was determined to give us treats. He put on his hat, announced he would walk to the market (most people walked everywhere then, too), and asked us to wait for him.

He came home much later, smiling triumphantly, his neck sunburned where the hat didn’t cover it. He said, “I couldn’t find Lifesavers but I have something else that’s delicious” and held up a bunch of bananas. My grandfather loved bananas, something inherited by my dad but not necessarily us kids. I could hear my brother and sister groaning and will admit I was disappointed, too.

But then I looked at him, having just returned from a long walk on a hot day, that big smile breaking up his lined face. So I said, “I’ll have one.” Grandpa gave me a banana longer than my arm (I was a small child) but I was determined to eat that whole thing and made yummy noises to show how much I was enjoying it. And then I asked for a second one. Since no one else was having any, I ended up ingesting four to show Grandpa how much we appreciated his treat.

Afterward, I had a belly ache on the way home but I think it was worth it to let my grandfather know his trip to the market wasn’t wasted. And surprise—I learned to love bananas!

OK, your turn. Tell me your story!

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26 Comments »

  • Elizabeth says:

    You were such an awesome kid; no wonder you’re such an awesome adult. :-)

  • Poncho says:

    Wow! That’s a really endearing and beautiful story, PCN.

    I don’t think I have that many cool or funny stories about bananas (mangoes on the other hand…).

    The only thing that comes to mind is that there’s never a day at my place when you cannot have bananas for breakfast -and has been like that for quite some time. We love them. Since I had to wake up before 6 a.m. through my middle and high-school life to take the bus and be in class at 7:30, we seldom had much time to make breakfast (we’d rather sleep) so my brother and I took turns each weekday and made cocoa & banana shakes for both of us. And then my parents could sleep through mornings not worrying we went to school unfed. That happened for about 4 or 5 years (until my bro moved to my grandma’s place in Irapuato my last year of highschool).

    Once, my parents were out of town for one or two weeks and my aunt stayed at our place to look after us, and she used to wake up at the same time as my brother and I and have breakfast with us, so we added another banana (another egg and more cocoa) to the shaker and made one for her too.

    The banana shake routine was only for weekdays. On weekends we were used to having bigger breakfast with the folks. But when my aunt was at my place, one of the weekends my brother and I had a swimming meet on Saturday, and my aunt woke up early and she fixed a shake for us, so we could sleep a little more and be rested for the competition.

    I was a little disappointed since we usually had something else for breakfast on meet-days, but couldn’t show it because she was so excited for helping us that I couldn’t break her heart.

    • Pop Culture Nerd says:

      I love your stories. The banana and cocoa shakes sound delicious. Did you do well at that meet where you didn’t get your normal breakfast? I didn’t know you were a swimmer as well as mountain climber. Elvish-language skills aside, you’re a jock trying to pass as a nerd!

      • Poncho says:

        I’m a full time nerd trying to pass as a jock. Come on! I’m a Boy Scout! I did a lot of swimming in my time and I was in the school team but I couldn’t even rank state (‘though I must say, my state’s standards are among the highest in the country).

        The mountain climbing was a one time thing I did with some friends and since 2005 I’ve never done it again. And I’m not fluent in Elvish (you know, no elves to practice with).

        I can’t remember how I did on that meet. Might have won something in fly-stroke but not sure.

        • Pop Culture Nerd says:

          When I was on the tennis team in high school, I hit the ball into the stands and other courts, everywhere except where it was supposed to go. I also got clobbered in the face a few times when I played volleyball. You’re pretty jock-y by comparison.

          Oh, wait, I was pretty good at hockey. Because it’s vicious. Heh.

          • Poncho says:

            When I tried tennis I did the exact same thing as you. I never managed to become a jock (‘though I tried), I was too fat… then I got sick and became too thin… then too fat agani. Also I am too short. So no luck for me there.

  • Christine says:

    No real story for me, but a love of peanut butter and banana sandwiches passed on from my grandfather. ;-)

  • Lauren says:

    I have a small banana story, but it can’t live up to these stories. But just wait til we get to tapioca pudding, I’ll blow all your socks off (please excuse typing and verbiage, I am on a new drug this morning and am feeling completely loopy. May have to order a refill of this one. It’s made even worse that for the past week my computer monitor has been blurrily showing shadows behind each character. Which may,by the end oftheday, render me unable to formulate a coherent sentence at all. In fact, that time may already be upon me. Must go sleep under desk…

    • Pop Culture Nerd says:

      Lauren, I’m a bit concerned. Are you still under the desk? Would love to hear your banana story, however small, whenever you feel like sharing.

      • Lauren says:

        Just woke up from a 45 minute nap. Feeling a bit better, but not much. This is insane. I feel like I should have just smoked a bunch of pot and eaten mushroom. No idea why this pill is making me feel this way, but I’m not really enjoy it. I could have at least had this problem at home, where I’m sure evertyhgin on tv would hae seemed highly entertaining. I don’t have enough of my faculties to tell a banana story.

        • Pop Culture Nerd says:

          Er, not to be your mother, but I think you need to go home early. And I hope you’re not driving.

          • Lauren says:

            Next ferry home not til 4:30. I’m waiting it out on the floor. Jerry just called to see how the floor was as a napping surface. Gotta love a boss like that. ‘Course, he’s feeling badly because I came in the office to see him and he stayed home due to the bad weather. Pu***. :) Feeling a bit better. Still not right in the head enough to work, but at least censoring the tweets I feel like sending out.

            Progress!

  • Jann says:

    Nothing too fun, but I used to run the lunch stops for the MS Waves to Wine bike ride (2 days, 100 miles each). The MS Society gave us nifty instructions to pre-make sandwiches with ghastly looking turkey-like stuff – yech! After a couple of years, I realized that my daughter and I could make made-to-order sandwiches for these poor riders, and the one I pushed the most was peanut butter and banana on wheat bread. It was against the rules, but no one ever left my lunch stop unhappy, or with a mushy faux meat mess sloshing in their belly.

  • Eddy says:

    This one time. At band camp….

    • Eddy says:

      Nah… can’t do it.

      I don’t have a banana story, but my mom told me a banana story. She grew up in the rural south during the Great Depression. She would always say that they didn’t know that they were poor. At Christmas, they didn’t get a bunch of toys like kids today, they’d get a dress, or a pair of shoes. They would also get some fruit, like an orange or something.

      But, if they got a banana… they REALLY had something. That was about the most exotic thing that they could get back then.

      It’s hard to think of a time that you couldn’t just go to the store and buy a bunch of banana. How many of them rot on my counter every year? But in the 1930s each kid in my mom’s family (there were 5 or 6 of them) MIGHT get one banana a year.

      • Pop Culture Nerd says:

        That’s quite a story, Eddy. Doesn’t it make you want to eat those bananas before they rot? Instead of “kids are starving in Africa,” maybe the guilt-inducing phrase should be “remember, kids during the Depression only got ONE banana a year.”

        Now, tell us what you did with bananas at band camp.

  • jenn says:

    I hate bananas. The End.

    No really. I thought and thought, but I have absolutely no banana stories.

    Love yours, though.

  • Jen Forbus says:

    My banana story is boring, but when you said bananas I simply remembered one of my favorite treats growing up. My mom would slice bananas in a bowl, pour milk over it and voila a treat. I always loved bananas so that was one of my favorites.

    I still love bananas, but if I’m eating them just straight from the peel, they must be just barely yellow, maybe even a tinge of green still behind. And I happen to have one in my lunch bag today. Woo hoo.

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