Not his avocation

By Peter Overmire
This item appears on page 51 of the February 2014 issue.

This month’s winner is PETER OVERMIRE of Greenbrae, CA:


This happened in the Panama Canal way back in 1938, when I was nine years old. I had been traveling in Europe for some months with my mother. She was a lifelong Californian and a true lover of avocados, but avocados were never seen in Europe then.

From Europe, we continued on a 12-passenger Norwegian freighter across the ocean to Panama. The ship stopped in Colón, at the Atlantic end of the canal, to offload some cargo, so the passengers went ashore for a while. To my mother’s delight, she was able to purchase a dozen avocados, which she gave to one of the Norwegian cabin boys, asking him to peel them for us for our dinner.

Imagine her shock when he proudly brought her a plate with a dozen avocado pits, the skins and flesh having gone over the rail as he “peeled” them!