Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Your “Talking Palm Moment”

Hi Friends,
Sheryl is thirty-eight years, a mother of three and a student at Smith College in Northampton with a writing assignment that is due in a few days. She does not know what to write. Even though lots of ideas spin through her mind, they seem irrelevant and uninteresting. The fact that her assignment is based on her childhood experiences does not necessarily help her.  
Sheryl is in trouble. She may not be able to submit her homework on time. Late work will lower her grade.  How embarrassing would that be?
Fortunately, Sheryl does not have to spend another night pecking at her head for specks of inspiration.  A coconut shows up unexpectedly in a bag of groceries her brother brings in from New York City.  Sheryl has used the coconut so many times in her adult life without it reminding her of her childhood connections to it. But somehow, that night, seeing and feeling that brown palm triggers her childhood memories. 
The Talking Palm
The mere appearance of that hard-shelled palm fruit opens Sheryl's heart.  Sheryl has a "talking palm moment," for out of her heart, like the water in the nut, pours forth some of her childhood experiences, happy and sad. That night, Sheryl's grade is saved. 
What is your “talking palm moment”? Where were you in your life when something you were once connected to stormed back into your life, triggering memories you thought you had forgotten?
Read Sheryl's stories at

Urge 5 other people to read as well.
Forever at your service,
Esther Jno-Charles

Monday, May 6, 2013

Coconut Milk and Cocoa

When he wanted someone to fetch the breakfast that my mother had prepared for him, hot cocoa without milk, codfish stewed with coconut oil and onions, and lettuce and tomato salad, I was it.” The Talking Palm
Sheryl, the main character in The Talking Palm, grows up helping her father bake bread in her family's bakery in Dominica. She usually gets up while the village is still asleep to help her father prepare the bread for the morning rush. In addition to kneading and rolling and blasting dough into loaves, albeit to her father's dissatisfaction, Sheryl does other errands, which she would prefer not to do, but must.
One of these errands includes fetching her father's breakfast. Sometimes that breakfast includes hot cocoa with no milk. Without milk, the tea is deep brown with a pure earthy taste. Who could afford to buy evaporated or powder milk to whiten cocoa tea and make it more palatable? But sweetened cocoa tea flavored with cinnamon or lime skin or bay leaf or nutmeg tasted as good as it could be.
Coconut milk could surely add a delicious blast to the dark cocoa. But Sheryl's mother would have had to find the coconut, break it, grind it and then milk it for its tongue-pleasing effect. Which mother has that time?
Fortunately, in America, we don't need that hard labor. We can just run to our local supermarket, grab a tin of coconut milk, one of the healthiest milks in the world, and add some to our cocoa tea. Then, while relaxing at the table, we just surrender to that tongue-teasing flavor of coconut milk and cocoa. Ah.
By Esther Jno-Charles, author of The Talking Palm