the eating of a hachiya


today i bought a persimmon tree from the willis orchard in georgia. it is, rather it will be a fuyu tree, some eight years old and promised to deliver fruit next november. 
in my early research on the subject i also came across a note on 'how to eat a persimmon'. they were talking about a fuyu. but my story is all about 'the eating of a hachiya persimmon'. 
in 1962 i was eighteen and a student of photography in munich, my parents lived in italy, in bologna to be precise. on my winter vacation i took the night train from munich to visit with them. it rained leaving munich, i was in a compartment with five giddy italians and their many deeply scented salame and fat, straw covered bottles of wine. clearly they were only too happy escaping frigid bavaria.  getting home to that sunny, that bella italia. as the train rolled into the night, it still rained in innsbruck. but once we left the brenner pass behind us, and were well beyond brixen, and onto bolzano, the sun slowly began to show a cold shoulder. the skies and the mood of my fellow migrants darkened towards verona. and it began to snow in dense flakes as we arrived at bologna centrale. father shook his head at the weather, snow in bologna would be like snow at miami beach. we got home soon though, through town and up to via rovighi. next day the sun shone as clear and as bright as on a sunny sunday morning, which in fact it was. father took me to lunch to his business partner, one of those very italian counts, living on an estate up in the seven hills.
as we drove past the gate toward the villa i saw many a leafless tree alongside the way, black of their branch, laden white of snow, but imagine: in fruit, red-orange bright, round, oval and pointed. their shape reminiscent of breasts, voluptuously hanging, some in pairs, some fallen into the snow-covered ground.
we arrived at the residenza, and sat at lunch, when i asked about the fruit on those bare branches. what might they be, apples, some kind of pear? do you eat them? the count, you must imagine a man of distinction, about sixty, full head of hair, grey at the temple, eye-glasses on fore-head, hand under chin, a finger crossing his lips, clearly nobility. with the smile of the rake, he called for maria.
she appeared in an instant, and blushed, as a woman might, when asked, how this young man, pointing to me, might best eat a persimmon. she returned with a knife and a plate, and a dark, motley blush persimmon, much like the ones fallen outside in the snow. she cut deep into its flesh to segment the pome. then she peeled back the thin skin attached to each section and quickly held the bared fruit out toward my face. she smiled jovially. bending forward and down towards me, her d√©colletage deeply expanding, she said: go, give it a suck, it is very sweet, molto dolcemente per piacere. it was me now, blushing, and brightly scarlet it felt, as i gaped helplessly at the bared sweetmeat; and all at the table burst laughing out loud. she kept a bemused smile though, consumare i pasti, she said, con gusto!