I have mentioned this briefly before, but when I was a little girl Santa always brought a nice plump orange to fill the toe of my stocking. Since then, I have heard repeatedly that people receive a clementine and when I saw these Cuties at the store, I had to pick them up. Even though I knew the taste wouldn’t be great, they made me smile and that’s worth a lot in my book.
So I set out to figure out why oranges or clementines were put in stockings long ago because this is such an important tradition for me. Truthfully I didn’t find much except a story about oranges representing gold coins, but something told me that wasn’t why my family did it. And then I ran across this old poem that my mother used to read me every year and I laughed because of course, I had this all along.
It’s a long poem, but a pure delight and I think you’ll enjoy it. Plus it is an honor for me to give life again to my grandmother’s words so long after she wrote them. She grew up poor as so many did in that time and she references the tradition here of the stocking orange being the only time all year they would get to eat one. Her name was Viola, but she went by the pseudonym, Cody Paige, during a period where she was a radio DJ in Florida. This was written by Cody.
I wish I’d known you more Gram-O.
Gosh, but I feel sorry for kids
whose Pop’s got lots of dough,
For tomorrow it’ll be Christmas
an they won’t have fun, I know!
They’ll get a lot of mechanical toys,
and wind them ’till they break;
And then their eyes will fill with tears
and deep inside they’ll ache.
The boys’ll get trains, the girls big dolls,
‘n lots of stuff that’s bought
But I’ll betcha they won’t get nothin’ that
little children ought.
Now you take us for instance
we been Christmasin all fall
An the presents all are hidden
in the closet neath the hall.
This mornin’ we got started
as soon as it was light;
An went with Pop to chop our tree
an seen that it’s done right!
Then we went up to the attic
an brought down our own corn
An we popped it in the fireplace
while we got our fingers warm.
Then Mom brought in the needle and string
an handed them to me
And I made long ropes of popcorn
to decorate our tree.
An Sis is makin’ popcorn balls
an wrappin’ them red and green
An gosh! we got the prettiest tree
that anyone’s ever seen.
Now Mom’s out makin’ cookies and
decoratin’ ’em too;
An we can hang them ’round the tree
as soon as she gets through.
Say, di ‘ja ever come down an old stair well
‘n shiver from your head to your toes
While your Pop shook up the fire
‘n your Mom warmed up your clothes?
Then have your eyes jump with surprise
As you looked beneath the tree
‘n everyone shoutin’ and hollerin’ around
‘n the whole house filled with glee?
Did ‘ja ever know how good an orange tastes,
when you ain’t had on fer a year;
Then find one in your stockin’, with a note,
“For Sonny dear?”
Di ja ever have your Mom come in,
with her eyes all wet and red
An your Pop just lookin’ silly
about somethin’ she’s just said?
I’ll probably get a bran’ new sled
made out of old lumber and tin;
And Sis might get a pair of skates
All accordin’ to how good we been.
The twins might set some farmer dolls
all dressed in regular clothes
Made out of Pop’s old Sunday pants
an a pair of Mom’s old hose.
Well, tomorrow it’ll be Christmas
an we won’t get much that’s new,
But, gosh! you poor little rich kids;
How we will pity you!
– Cody Paige
I would be delighted if you would share this poem out so more of the world can read it. Now on to the Clementine Cutie review…
Golf ball size tangerine with bright orange peel and flesh.
Strong orange acidic smell. Almost makes my eyes water.
Easy to peel with minimal pith. Juicy with no seeds.
Mild, shallow sweet flavor. Not particularly acidic.
OVERALL Overall Rating:
This is a mediocre clementine at best. It is extremely easy to eat and won’t assault your senses in any way – good or bad. My experience with Cuties is that they are terribly hit or miss. A single fruit could be great in the bunch, but mostly they are consistently ok. One of the stickers on the fruit says “Perfect pocket fruit” and I agree, except I would worry that I’d leave it in my pocket forever because it so forgettable. Sad. If you are hoping for something better in your stocking this year, I would recommend asking Santa for the Sanguinello Blood Orange. That is what he brought me last year and I absolutely loved them. (One of my only reviews that received 5 stars all the way down.)
I remember when I was very little and my mom and dad lived on my dad’s parents ranch, we had very little boughten anything, including fruit. So oranges were a really big deal in our stocking. We would go to Grandpa and ask him for his socks—we thought they were the biggest ones! He would tease and twinkle at us until he finally produced two socks which we would carefully hang over the spindles that were on the dining room chairs. (No fireplace–just a wood stove.) The oranges made the toe all big and fat.
That’s a great story. I love my current frilly stockings, but getting a real sock from your grandpa seems so tender and sweet. I love it.