I buy bananas by the quick-sale tote bag. Yes, partly because I’m cheap and the price is reduced, but also because I prefer eating a brown speckled banana that’s a shade past ripe—-ideally, midway between perfectly ripe and slightly overripe. Sarah took this photo of the batch I brought home from Rouses earlier in the week and posted it on Facebook to poke fun at my on-the-cheap bananas bargain.

Cheap 'nanners from the quick-sale rack:  The stuff of family lore.

Cheap ‘nanners from the quick-sale rack: The stuff of family lore.

After reading some of the ensuing comments and jibes that began to appear in the Facebook thread, I remembered stories Daddy told of his childhood in the Mississippi River suburbs of New Orleans. In those days, banana boats from South America—-ships, actually—-docked along the shore. The ship’s crew discarded overripe or damaged bananas by tossing them overboard into the River. Daddy and his resourceful buddies, conditioned by the economic hardship of the Great Depression and no doubt savoring bananas as an exotic treat, dove into the water and salvaged the fruit as reclaimed bounty. I think he told us they sold bananas for a few pennies or a nickel each, but I’m also pretty sure he and his buddies liberally tasted their wares, too. Fresh fruit of any kind in working class households of that underprivileged era amounted to a luxury that my spoiled generation can hardly appreciate.

All that makes me wonder: As Daddy was a professed cheapskate and an accomplished ‘nanner scavenger, could my fetish for reduced-price bananas from the grocery’s discard rack stem from DNA?

I don’t know the answer to that question for sure, but even if the propensity isn’t genetic, it’s certainly bound in heritage and adds another entertaining yarn to the collected family lore. May posting it as a memoir here preserve it for posterity.

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