Summer 2004 • Vol. XXVI No. 3 NonfictionJuly 1, 2004 |

Olives

In the supermarket where I shop there is a new feature: At the end of the deli counter where ham haunches wait to be sliced and cheeses and breads are heaped as in a European market, is a counter made to look like a surrey cart. Under its fringe are galvanized buckets filled with false grapes and plastic bins the size of troughs; most of these bins are filled with olives. The ones on the end present mixes of peppers and onions and mushrooms, but the inner containers hold olives only. How beautiful they are! So glossy they hardly look real. I bought two tubs of them, so many they'll probably never be eaten, but I put them on a plate and admired their differences: the plump, slick, khaki ones, the eggplant-dark that look like small prune plums or deepest bruises, and the strange, shriveled ones, the cadavers of the olive world. They look like mummies' eyes and their taste is oily and musky at once. I bought so many because olives are what must be bought when I want to remember

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Gail Galloway Adams, Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing from West Virginia University, lives with her husband, Timothy, in an 1853 farm house on her family's Ramshackle Ranch, near Florence, Texas. She studies Spanish, takes Zumba classes, and is still reading and writing and loving literature.

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