By Michael Lieberman
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Extra resources for A history of the sweetness of the world
This was the way they remembered: with metered water, grafted stock, and premixed fertilizer. Before the Turks, before the Crusades, Mohammed ascended from the Temple ruins, the trees already old on the Mount of Olives. And before, the wheat of the Hebrews, and before wheat was the millet of the Canaanites. And before millet, hoes and bones. Page 20 Jericho Dizzy Gillespie and Wynton Marsalis never wailed here. The naked trumpet of Aida never burst forth in fire here, but once there was victorious music Joshua, hawk-faced and muscular, forced its walls into resonant compliance.
He came steerage, carried a pack through the Blue Ridge and peddled dry goods. He settled among Jerry Falwell's ancestors, lived between the furrows God raked north to south in some mysterious plan for America, traded horses, bought and sold scrap metal in the Bible Belt. Our family says he smuggled livestock on the Polish-Russian border, that he came alone in the eighteen-eighties and sent for his wife Rebecca, my great grandmother, in eighteen-ninety-four. They lived there, raised children in a white frame house surrounded by lilacs and Baptists, in the shadow of Manassas, Shiloh.
They tine and furrow plateaus for wheat, set out melon plants like stars before the sun is high. In some future time archaeologists will say, They were gatherers of stones after they were dispersed and gathered. This was the way they remembered: with metered water, grafted stock, and premixed fertilizer. Before the Turks, before the Crusades, Mohammed ascended from the Temple ruins, the trees already old on the Mount of Olives. And before, the wheat of the Hebrews, and before wheat was the millet of the Canaanites.
A history of the sweetness of the world by Michael Lieberman