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November 4, 2021

Fruit baskets… love them or leave them? Either way, I certainly remember the days when I volunteered to help my children sell baskets of fresh Florida fruit as a holiday fundraiser for their school music programs. Sound familiar to any mamas out there? Grapefruit always sold best. Why, oh, why they moved on to cheesecake and cookie dough I will never know. They should have stuck with the fruit.

Anyhoo... Here are some very interesting facts about grapefruit followed by a little story.

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The Facts:

~ Grapefruit are a man-made hybrid of two fruits, Asian pomelos, its sweeter ancestor, and Jamaican oranges.

~ Grapefruit were “discovered” on the island of Barbados by Welsh Reverend Griffith Hughes around the year 1750.

~ Local Barbadians considered them to be one of the island’s seven wonders and referred to them as the “forbidden fruit”. I can’t exactly find the reason why, but most research says this is simply because this fruit seemed to greatly intrigue farmers. The worst it has ever done to me is squirt me in the eye, so the term “forbidden” seems a little rough.

~ Grapefruit grow on evergreen trees in clusters, like grapes, thus, the name “grape”fruit.

~ In the United States, grapefruit are most successfully grown in Florida and Texas respectively. ~ Grapefruit trees can grow up to 50 feet tall, and to my surprise, one of those huge trees happens to be very very close to my home.

The Story:

I received a notice on a popular neighborhood app that someone here in Destin was offering free grapefruit. Their tree had been abundantly blessed this season, and they wanted to share the wealth. Is that not the nicest thing? I truly LOVE grapefruit, and we all know how quickly the word, “FREE” gets around. I knew I had no time to waste! I googled the address, and to my surprise, this home and its HUGE grapefruit tree were right around the corner from us!

In the front yard was a typical and well used plastic cooler donned with a very humble hand written sign that read, “FREE RED GRAPEFRUIT... Help Yourself”. I don't know... It moved me. I’m emotional like that. There must have been 25-30 or more grapefruit lovingly placed inside. I took a couple for my family and a few extras as “hostess gifts”... little tastes of Florida... for some out of town friends I was meeting later for lunch (who, by the way, were thrilled when they received them). I just couldn't leave without thanking the homeowners. So, I found some scrap paper in my car and wrote a very humble note thanking them for their kindness... for their “cheerful giving”. I placed it in the cooler, and for the rest of the day, I don't know, I felt a little bit better about people, a little bit better about the world. I really did, not to mention, the grapefruit was absolutely DELICIOUS… perfectly sweet and juicy!

In 2 Corinthians, Paul tells us God loves a “cheerful giver”.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NLT)

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

I mean, come on. Don’t you just love when scripture plays out in life EXACTLY as God says?

And, God wasn’t finished yet.

About two weeks later, I was out running errands. The home owner happened to be outside caring for his lawn. I debated on stopping, but God settled that quickly. I stopped and rolled down my window to his very perplexed look. “Thank you so much for the delicious grapefruit,” I said among other pleasantries. I don't need to tell you what the smile he gave back looked like… or my smile back for that matter.

I can’t ride by that house anymore, which I do very often, without remembering what a “cheerful giver” once gave to me. We’re attempting to grow an orange tree. Things have a way of coming around full circle.

Stay Salty,

~ Chris


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