To fully appreciate the loquat jam my daughters and I made last week,
you’d have to know Linda Halfacre Osborne.
She and I went to college together. She was then and is now one of the
funniest people I’ve ever met. She has many gifts — one of them is
the ability to make everyone want to spend time with her. She knows
how to have fun and make the people around her feel good.
Whether Linda has ever eaten loquat jam or could identify a loquat in
a line-up is beside the point.
Last weekend, my friend played an important role in my decision to
give in to our youngest daughter’s request to go outside and pick
loquats (also known as Japanese Plums or nisparos). Piper, 7, did not
only want to pick loquats, she wanted to make loquat jam.
I don’t know how she got the idea to make jam out of loquats, but she did.
And she was relentless.
Until I moved to Acadiana, I didn’t know a loquat from a cherimoya,
but early on I recognized that the tree thrives here. We have a mature
tree in our front yard that produces more fruit than we can eat or
Granted, we weren’t sure if the little yellow pear-shaped
kumquat-sized fruit was edible at first. But after a little research,
I learned that not only is it edible, it’s tasty. To me, it tastes
like a combination green apple and pear. Prized in Asia and somewhat
popular in California, few people in South Louisiana pay it much mind.
But back to Linda.
When Piper was begging me to pick fruit and make jam, all I wanted to
do was read a book. The sun was shining. I was tired. I had no idea if
loquats were jammable.
But, a few weeks ago, Linda sent me something she called “Interview
with my children” — a simple list of 21 questions she asked her
Like my friend, her children’s answers made me smile.
“What was your mom like as a child?”
Julianna, 11, said, “Freckly.”
Evan, 7, said, “Sweet and loving and kind. I bet, cause I wasn’t even
alive then. I was no where then.”
“What makes Mom sad?”
“When we whine,” Julianna said.
“The devil,” Evan said.
Linda inspired me to do the interview with my own children.
“What is your mom not very good at?”
Greer, my 11-year-old, said, “Making mayonnaise.”
Piper, my 7-year-old, said, “Doing her hair.”
“How are you and your mom different?”
“Our interest in TV shows. Our opinions on cell phones,” said a very smug Greer.
“We look different. Our nails are different. Our favorite numbers are
different,” said Piper.
“What makes Mom sad?”
“Diseases. Or Dad throwing stuff away,” said Greer.
“When me and Greer fight,” said Piper.
“What makes you proud of your mom?”
“She loves me,” said Piper.
“Her make-dos,” said Greer.
And that is what brings us to loquat jam.
If Linda hadn’t sent me the questionnaire, Greer would not have told
me that she was proud of me when I “made do.” Though the simple
questions and my children’s answers shone much light on many areas of
our relationships, the biggest surprise for me was that Greer
recognized that I thrived in “make do” situations.
But she had.
And that made me want to go outside and pick loquats and figure out
how to “make-do” some loquat jam with my daughters.
And we did.
And it was good.
(Jan Risher’s column appears Sundays. If you’d like to comment or a
copy of all 21 questions to conduct your very own “Interview with your
children,” e-mail her at email@example.com. The interview is fun for
mothers and children of any ages.)