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Lucrezia Borgia I’m not. Good old Lucrezia was born in a little village near Rome on April 18, during the Renaissance period. History as well as a theatrical account (an opera by Gaetano Donizetti) has portrayed her as a Machiavellian, husband−slaying hussy that used a ton of methods to get rid of an unwanted spouse or lover − with poison at the top of the list. She was also quite beautiful, with blond hair, green eyes and a buxom figure −− a regular femme fatal.
Buxom I got, I was born on April 17 in the Baby Boom period, am of Italian descent, my grandmother came from Sorrento, about 150 miles from Rome, and some have said I’m a bad−ass b(*&)ch at times − But poison ain’t my speed. There have been occasions when I wanted to throttle my husband, and on occasion he has asked me where the gun was hidden, but I would never resort to such a subtle device as Death by Cherries.
“Honey, I don’t know what you did differently to the fruit salad, but for the past couple of days, I’m getting itching and burning in my throat after I eat.” So started the phone call I got from my husband Bob. For a moment I couldn’t think of what would have caused that reaction; the usual mix in my fruit salad includes strawberries, raisins and blueberries, occasionally I may add cantaloup or watermelon, but not much else. It didn’t even dawn on me that I had added those beautiful ripe cherries that I had bought at the market.
But then the light bulb went off and I said, “Could it have been the cherries?” Coughing, he answered, “You know I can’t eat any fruit that’s grown in the northeast.” “Cherries?” I said, “how the heck do I know where they’re grown? They just looked good and I wanted to change the variety a little. I didn’t have a conversation regarding their ancestry.”
Overhearing my conversation, my colleague Tina jokingly commented, “Do you want me to introduce you to him − 20 years and you still don’t know what he’s allergic to?” Generally I do know − I never give him peaches with the peel on − and I never give him apples unless they’re cooked − but cherries?
I swear they never crossed my mind. Not in the 20 plus years of wedded bliss have I ever seen a cherry reaction. I have seen him eat chocolate−covered cherries, down a couple hundred maraschino cherries in drinks, gobble many slices of cherry pie, slurp up bowls of vanilla ice cream with black cherries and drink gallons of Cherry Cola and never, ever, ever once has there been a cough, an itch or a choke.
After apologizing a few dozen times - I felt really bad, I promised never to add cherries into his fruit salad again. I also told him to take a Benadryl® tablet and drink lots of water. Then I pinky-promised that before I added any new fruit to his diet, I would demand to see its birth certificate first.
Not for nuthin’, but I bet Lucrezia Borgia never worried where her poison came from.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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