Nope, this is not a post about the ongoing NBA playoffs. I’m not a basketball fan, or a sports fan of any type, for that matter. This is more like an “ode to a peach” (smile). This morning I had the most-luscious peach as a “chaser” to my oatmeal. Not sliced on top, not diced throughout; no, I just enjoyed that fuzzy little fruit by hanging my head over the sink and letting its juicy goodness dribble down my chin and into the drain. Well, that’s the very best way to enjoy Summer’s juicy fruits. Last week at Meijer I bought a half-dozen peaches that were as hard as my head and I used the old tried-and-true method of quick ripening them by stuffing them in a brown paper bag and crumpling down the top. Sure enough, four days later I opened the bag and presto-magic, the peaches smelled heavenly and were ripe and ready to eat. I had a small agenda of errands today, so I factored in my exercise by walking around Meijer about five or six times, stopping here, there and everywhere – I did rack up a mile and half of steps. I got some more peaches and some pluots – been meaning to try the latter hybrid which is supposed to be a cross between a plum and an apricot. Summer arrives a week from today, but Mother Nature’s sweet treats are already there for the tasting. While I like my fruit au natural, my mom could take any fruit, and after donning her apron and propping up her cookbook, she’d bake up a pie, cobbler or a kuchen that was to die for. Years ago my father worked for a small manufacturing plant that was built on the outskirts of a huge farm. The farmer sold the land and invited the plant’s workers to pick their own fruit from his orchards and corn from his cornfield. We often had fruit in brown bags, at various ripening stages, to be ready to eat or develop into a delicious dessert. When my mom wasn’t baking up goodies, she was stewing up applesauce and “putting it up” for Winter. If I shut my eyes, I can picture her making pear kuchen, a laborious process of peeling pears, arranging them onto a layer of fresh-baked shortbread, then ladling out dollops of heavy whipping cream which was then garnished with chocolate curls. Yummy! Or, perhaps she was serving up hot peach cobbler, with vanilla ice cream and cinnamon sugar on top. I’m wondering why I never packed on the pounds in those days; adolescent metabolism, I guess. … but I did tuck away a few peachy keen dessert memories to be sure.