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The Perimmons at Sacred Heart

Squished persimmon the ground

Squished Persimmons

…persimmons. This is precision.
Ripe ones are soft and brown-spotted.
Sniff the bottoms. The sweet one
will be fragrant. How to eat:
put the knife away, lay down newspaper.
Peel the skin tenderly, not to tear the meat.
Chew the skin, suck it,
and swallow. Now, eat
the meat of the fruit,
so sweet,
all of it, to the heart…

From Li Young Lee and Persimmons

Today, Juliette had a volleyball game at a Catholic school on the southside of Oklahoma City. Between games I walked outside and noticed a Vietnamese man and his children picking persimmons from a tree in the parish courtyard. He gracioulsy let me take pictures of them picking persimmons.

Despite Persimmon Hill, I have never before seen a persimmon tree growing in Oklahoma.

Vietnamese man on ladder picking persimmons

The man told me that in 1976 his aunt planted the tree along with two others, which have since been cut down. He told me back then most of the families at Sacred Heart were Vietnamese, but that today, only two Vietnamese families attend the church. The majority of parishioners at Sacred Heart today are Hispanic. He said a new Vietnamese Catholic church was under construction around SW 59th and May Avenue.

Man picking an orange persimmon with school bus in background

The camera lens is so generous. It shuts out all the things that threaten to dilute my curiosity. When I am peering through it I am aware of only my subject and the colors and the light that surrounds it or him. I can be completely surrounded by noise and people, but in that moment when I am gathering the light and color and curiosity into my shot, I am holding tight to the intimacy of the moment. Once I’ve taken the picture, I am no longer in relationship with my subject. These separations are never lost on me. For a moment, it feels like I hold their lives in my hands. But, of course, I don’t, it’s only my lens.

A blue bin full of orange persimmons

Recycled Persimmons

Artsy cross on a building on the grounds of Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Mexican boy with his father at his christening

Christening at Sacred Heart

Colorful Stained Glass Windows inside Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Little girl crossing street in First Communion Dress outside of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, OKC

Mexican young men in hot pink shirts with star-shaped buzz cut designs

Sacred Stars

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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3 Comments

  1. me

    @YOGI – Thank you. I wish I could have gotten more Christening photos. These folks do it up right!

    @TR – Well, I’ve heard that but I swear, Tim, I’ve never seen one – not since moving to Oklahoma in 1983. Back in the early 90s I bought organic produce at the Pratt’s on NW 39th and they always had persimmons that were grown in Oklahoma. I’ve been looking for persimmon trees ever since. I guess I can be glad I didn’t notice them a long time ago. I might have glazed over with familiarity yesterday in that tiny courtyard. I can’t believe they cut two of the trees down…I WOULD LOVE TO HIKE WITH YOU!!

    @JAYCEE – It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens over there. The dedication of the new I-40 in 2012 will mark the official beginning of major transformations in this neighborhood. The church and the school – Sacred Heart and The Mount – stand to gain.

    Reply
  2. T.R.

    Jen, Jen, Jen – come hiking with me, come traveling with me, come anywhere with me…..persimmons are native to Oklahoma – they grow wild all over Oklahoma County. Let me show you – haven’t you been to Persimmon Hill? Have you seen the Osage Orange – same habitat as persimmons.

    Reply
  3. Yogi♪♪♪

    Beautiful – I just love this post.

    Reply

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