An Ode To Orange

I shall begin the proceedings by stating that this story would not have come into existence were my wife Sandy and I not subscribers to The New Yorker magazine. Thus, if you read this opus and decide that it sucks, then sue The New Yorker, not me. As always, I’m blameless!

Back cover of The New Yorker magazine

For it was about six weeks ago that I noticed the colorful back cover of the aforementioned magazine’s March 1 issue. That cover was an ad for Sumo Citrus, a variety of fruit that I’d never heard of before. Grown in California, it’s a large version of a mandarin orange, and boasts what pretty much looks like a top knot on its head. Sumo wrestlers sport top knots. Hence, the fruit’s name.

Anyway, not many days later Sandy and I were filling up our shopping cart at a Whole Foods supermarket when a table piled sky high with bright orange produce caught my eye. Holy shit, it was a Sumo Citrus mountain! Were we enticed? Yo, is the pope Catholic? So, overpriced though the fellas were, we purchased one. And ate it the next day. Yeah, it was seedless and easy to peel, as advertised, points definitely in its favor. But how about the taste? That’s the main thing, right? Well, the flavor was good. Quite good. But hardly a revelation. I mean, it tasted like an orange!

Whether we buy or don’t buy another Sumo Citrus some day, the fruit made a real impression on me because, subconsciously, the color orange remained on my mind. I love colors, just about all of them, and have published many essays on this site that revolve around one color or another: odes to blue, green, red and yellow come to mind. But I haven’t waxed poetic very much about orange. On April 5, a Monday, I decided that the time had arrived to do something about that.

In mid-afternoon of that day, off I went to Willow Grove Park, a three-story indoor shopping mall near my home in the suburbs of Philadelphia. From past experience, I knew that examples of just about every color under the sun can be found there, some on store merchandise and displays, some on signs, and some adorning the bodies of the mall’s employees and customers.

I spent an hour in the commercial wonderland, which, despite the pandemic, was as busy as I’ve ever seen it outside of the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. A diligent journalist, I kept my eyes focused on colors, rather than on cute girls, as I scoured the premises. Some hues definitely predominated: shades of white, black, blue, grey and red, I’d say. Orange wasn’t a member of the in crowd. In fact, only purple, by my estimation, was represented less at the mall than was orange. Nonetheless, I found a fair number of examples. They were hard to miss, so flamboyant is orange.

Macy’s department store carried some ladies’ clothes, shoes and accessories in knockout versions of orange, for example, and a small number of men’s shirts in same. A vendor in the mall’s food court had shelves filled with candy bars whose wrappers exploded in orange and in other hues. And a teenager, strolling the avenues with a young lady, shone like a star in his orange shirt. In fact, he was the only person I saw at the mall who wore any orange at all. Wait a minute . . . that ain’t true! Wandering around the mall was a f*cking weirdo whose orange, black and white mask covered half of his wrinkled face. It was good of him to stop and pose for a selfie for this story. If you surmise that the f*cking weirdo was yours truly, you possibly are correct.

Why isn’t orange more popular in the USA than seemingly it is? Good question. It should be a hit. Orange is snazzy, jazzy and full of good spirits, after all. But maybe the American personality leans a bit too much toward the repressed side for orange to get its due. Its day may come, though. You never know. I’m pretty sure of one thing, in any event. To wit, my eyes will stay open for orange. Once you start looking for that color, it’s hard to stop.

I’m going to leave you with two recordings that pay homage to orange — to skies of orange, specifically. The first (Orange Skies) is by Love, a trippy rock band that was popular in the hippie era. They recorded it in 1966. The second (Orange Colored Sky) was put on wax by the one-and-only Nat King Cole in 1950.

Thanks for reading, girls and boys. Please don’t be shy about entering any comments you might have. Till next time!

162 thoughts on “An Ode To Orange

  1. KT Workman April 20, 2021 / 12:16 am

    I like orange clothing…it has always complimented my completion. I was once a redhead, now white, but throughout the stages of my life, it has gone with my pinkish-pale skin. And orange flowers never fail to grab my attention.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. johnlmalone April 20, 2021 / 12:18 am

    Love your homage to Orange, Neil, a bright, happy color. And incidentally I’m a great fan of The New Yorker and have been subscribing since 2006. And, o, I had a Love album in my collection and used to lay three or four tracks of it regularly 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2021 / 1:02 pm

      The song I included is from Love’s third album. But I especially like Love’s first album, which has loads of raw energy.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. cincinnatibabyhead April 20, 2021 / 12:23 am

    ‘It tasted like an orange”. That is so cool!. I have an orange polo/golf shirt (A little sleazy but I love it). An orange headband that is disintegrating but is still happening on my head (similar to that thing on your face). And again i will refer you to Ken Nordine’s ‘Colors’ album and his number one hit ‘Orange’. I love Nat.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. eden baylee April 20, 2021 / 12:48 am

    HI Neil,
    I thought orange was popular in the US. You had the Netflix series, Orange Is the New Black, an orange president, and now Sumos. 😉

    Great colour which complements my otherwise black wardrobe. Thanks for the music too.
    eden

    Liked by 4 people

  5. George April 20, 2021 / 12:54 am

    Have you ever visited Holland, Neil? There you will find a country that fully embraces your love of orange.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2021 / 1:08 pm

      Hi. I was in Amsterdam in 2016. Had a terrific time, but I guess I wasn’t focused on its colors. I’ll take a look at the photos that I took.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Audrey Driscoll April 20, 2021 / 1:01 am

    I’ve seen smaller versions of those oranges called Tangelos. I think of them as resembling the bombs you see in cartoons. They have an intense orange flavour that makes you blink. Too much for some folks, but I like them.
    Orange is a nice accent colour that livens up the scene. But too much is too much.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Lynette d'Arty-Cross April 20, 2021 / 1:25 am

    Orange can be a difficult colour. Most people don’t look good in it, and it tends to be a difficult match with a lot of other colours, so it stands alone in people’s closets. Then there’s the unfortunate fact that it’s the prison system’s favourite or it’s a reminder of a certain former president.
    It is a cheery, happy colour, though, despite the poor connections. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Paddy Tobin April 20, 2021 / 3:01 am

    Because of our time difference, your posts generally come to me with my breakfast and the glass of orange – how appropriate!

    Orange is a colour of the hot counties, I think, and can be garish in our cooler, damper climate. Nonetheless, though I wouldn’t be seen dead walking the streets in anything orange, one orange item of clothing is a treasured one in the garden. I wear orange knee pads to protect my bony joints. This began after a series of frightening bruises after kneeling on some small pebbles or the likes, bruises which ran all the way from knee to foot, an internal bleeding of some sort. The search of these protective kneepads lead me to many “suitably” decorated with bright flowers – and I certainly wouldn’t be seen dead in those! Eventually, I found a pair which were simply functional…and orange! So, I am the man with the orange kneepads.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Annika Perry April 20, 2021 / 3:03 am

    Neil, you’ll have me looking out for orange now! Haven’t seen any masks in the colour before! As for the sumo orange. Seriously?! The whole point of an orange is that it’s hard to peel, messy, full of annoying seeds … hmmm … actually I think I’d like to try a sumo one now!😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2021 / 1:17 pm

      I wonder if they’ve been exported to your country. If they haven’t yet, they probably will be in the future. They’re from California.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Americaoncoffee April 20, 2021 / 3:34 am

    What a fixation Neil. But I understand because I get fixated every now and then myself. 💓

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Robert Parker April 20, 2021 / 6:53 am

    I like that whole citrus tribe – clementines, navels, mandarins. tangerines. That last one was a pretty mellow Zeppelin song. In Asia guys wear bright colors like that, but here, kind of rare, until you hit deer season – then those safety vests and hats for hunters are everywhere! And I’ve got relatives in Orange County, NY, which is called that because they grow apples there.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. rivertoprambles April 20, 2021 / 8:13 am

    Oh my god, the snazzy orange face mask on that gentle fellow almost made me jump out of my morning pants. It’s exactly like one of my two favorite Covid masks I’ve been wearing for most of last year. Quite startling! And Orange Skies had me traveling pleasantly back into LOVEly music of the late 60s. Thanks for that!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2021 / 1:21 pm

      You know, I hadn’t herd anything by Love in quite a while. The song I included is a terrific one. One day soon I’ll play one or more of their albums. I have three of them on vinyl.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Laurie Graves April 20, 2021 / 8:23 am

    I have a friend who dyes her hair bright orange and wears lots of orange clothes. One of the funkiest septuagenarians I know. Long live orange!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. JOYCE HAMILTON April 20, 2021 / 8:25 am

    Love your photos and music!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. librepaley April 20, 2021 / 8:37 am

    It’s interesting how upon learning of something new, one suddenly notices it everywhere. Delicious shades of orange. It’s rare that orange is one of someone’s favourite colours, I think – it’s one of mine.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2021 / 1:25 pm

      Hi. I wonder where orange stands in terms of color popularity. I’ve read that studies show that blue is the world’s most popular color.

      Liked by 1 person

      • librepaley April 21, 2021 / 3:48 am

        Some languages, like Russian, have different words for light blue and dark blue; others, like Korean, use the same word for blue and green, in general. It adds to the fascination of whether we – people – all see the same colours.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. liliannemilgrom April 20, 2021 / 9:04 am

    Thanks for the musical interludes!!! I like orange but since moving to the US I can’t help but associate orange with Halloween, especially since I pair almost everything with black!!! So now I avoid it 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2021 / 1:27 pm

      Till I read your comments, I’d forgotten about orange being a Halloween color. I might have to revise my essay!

      Like

  17. J. Kelland Perry April 20, 2021 / 9:08 am

    Your mask rocks! I like orange, although clothing that colour doesn’t look good on me. My favourite throw is a dusty orange. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2021 / 1:29 pm

      Hi there. The mask is the only clothing item I own with orange in it. I think I owned shirts with orange in my younger days, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. talebender April 20, 2021 / 9:36 am

    Orange always reminds me of the Flyers, the Broad Street Bullies specifically…..and as a Maple Leafs fan, I was not fond of them.
    Love Nat Cole, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2021 / 1:30 pm

      Right. I’d forgotten about the Flyers’ use of orange. Which is stupid of me, considering that I’ve lived in or near Philadelphia for most of my adult life.

      Like

  19. Jacqui Murray April 20, 2021 / 9:45 am

    A seedless orange! Who woulda thunk? Orange always makes me think of Halloween. I will say, my website designer had highlights of orange when he redid my site and it looks great. I wouldn’t have though it would work.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Debra April 20, 2021 / 9:51 am

    Orange is favored in fast-food restaurant decor because it supposedly stimulates hunger. (I was going to say “Orange you glad you wrote this,” but I thought better of it. Ha)

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Carolina Vann April 20, 2021 / 9:52 am

    When I was thirteen in 1961, I was a model for young men’s clothes at Miami’s leading department store, Burdine’s. It was a forty hour a week gig (a dollar an hour) for Back to School season, and I’ll never forget the electric colors that the women were modeling alongside me. Names like Shocking Pink. Juicy Orange, Lightning Green, and Splashy Yellow. replaced the reds, blues, and blacks of the 50’s. Your photo of the mannikins in those bright colors said it all. Formerly frowned upon combinations like Pink and orange, green and pink, and yellow and orange were suddenly very stylish. I’m happy to see those colors and combinations have made a comeback.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2021 / 1:35 pm

      I wonder if Miami was in the color/fashion forefront back then. A few years later, though, bright colors were everywhere.

      Like

  22. Dave April 20, 2021 / 10:51 am

    Our NFL Denver Broncos used to have a defensive set known widely as the “Orange Crush”. It’s no longer part of their scheme but they still rock their blue/orange uniforms.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Dave April 20, 2021 / 3:50 pm

        Elway did win it all his last two years, then promptly retired. He’s a bit of a local legend, even if his front office experience with the Broncos hasn’t been nearly as successful.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Michael Graeme April 20, 2021 / 11:00 am

    My son’s into orange. He bought his first car because it was orange on the outside and had orange seat and trim on the inside. The car turned out to be a lemon, but he loved it because it was orange.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Donna Cameron April 20, 2021 / 12:20 pm

    Orange is the color worn by road and highway construction workers around here. And since nearly every street and highway in Washington (state) is currently being repaved, repaired, or widened, it’s the most prevalent color around. And the jackhammer is the most prevalent sound.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2021 / 1:40 pm

      If some version of Biden’s infrastructure plan becomes law, there will be more jackhammer noise than ever. But the end results will be worth it.

      Liked by 2 people

  25. Rosaliene Bacchus April 20, 2021 / 12:26 pm

    Orange is one of my favorite colors and is well represented in my wardrobe. It’s a vibrant color that sets the skies ablaze at sunset and lifts my spirits.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. tylerus April 20, 2021 / 1:01 pm

    How about a chocolate [naval] orange – tried one the other day. Interesting. And while we’re on the topic of orange…here’s an “orange” song I liked once upon a time . . . https://youtu.be/UzPh89tD5pA

    Liked by 2 people

  27. andrewcferguson April 20, 2021 / 1:08 pm

    Very natty mask, Neil. I think the English-speaking world is going through a dull-colour fashion moment – or decade – right now. Let’s hope they get back to bright colours soon!

    Liked by 2 people

  28. JT Twissel April 20, 2021 / 1:32 pm

    Orange is my husband’s favorite color because he’s color blind and it’s one of the few colors he can pick out.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. snakesinthegrass2014 April 20, 2021 / 1:46 pm

    Your title worried me there for a moment because I thought you might have taken a sudden RIGHT turn, so to speak. Glad this truly is about the color! I had forgotten all about that “Orange Skies,” which is a great tune from the past. Cool mask too. – Marty

    Liked by 3 people

  30. Rachelle Whiting April 20, 2021 / 2:19 pm

    Orange is one of my faves. It is underrated as a color. The inclusion of songs around orange was awesome. The only song that comes to mind for me was Tangerine by Led Zeppelin, not exactly an orange but it is a great song.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 20, 2021 / 2:53 pm

      Thanks for stopping by. You know, I’m not sure if I know that song. I’m going to head over to YouTube and give it a listen.

      Like

  31. Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter April 20, 2021 / 2:33 pm

    I really like your mask. Unfortunately, orange has sectarian connotations here, all to do with a battle fought by William of Orange in 1690, so a colour I would avoid. There is an Orange marching season in July. Grotesque and not a Glasgow gallivant you will find me writing about!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. stargazer April 20, 2021 / 3:27 pm

    Sumo Citrus??! I guess you live and learn… 😁 I really like orange, but I wouldn’t want to wear it. Somehow, it is almost too bright signalling, look-at-me!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. swabby429 April 20, 2021 / 4:57 pm

    Bright orange is my favorite color, but it is best used sparingly. A little bit of orange goes a long way. I predict the colorway will gain in popularity because of the resurgence of 1960s and 1970s styles.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Brockelman April 20, 2021 / 7:00 pm

    You can be blameless, but still an instigator to a fun conversation. I’m more bright yellow and peach, myself. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Helen Devries April 20, 2021 / 7:03 pm

    That sumoorange sounds fun,,,,probably arrive here in ten years’ time.
    Orange, for reasons outlined by Glasgow Gallivanter above, did not figure in my colour choices….any more than green….but what a cheerful colour it is! That face mask would wake the dead.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Ann Coleman April 20, 2021 / 9:37 pm

    I love oranges, but am not all that fond of the color. Still, your photos are quite good!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. annieasksyou April 20, 2021 / 11:23 pm

    Another fun romp with you, Neil.

    I love Nat King Cole and have enjoyed that song many times, but with writerly attention to the minute details in life, totally failed to note the title or subject of said song. So thank you for that!

    Do you throw out your New Yorkers? I can’t do it and it’s become a huge stumbling block to my decluttering efforts. And if you’re an attentive reader, you needn’t bother to read the piece I’m posting tomorrow, which is based on a recent article from it.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Tannille April 21, 2021 / 12:31 am

    It makes sense to have a orange options. It can be sold to men and women.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Darts and Letters April 21, 2021 / 2:09 am

    Here’s an orange story, for you. Ten years ago our next door neighbors on one side of us, remodeled their humble two bedroom bungalow to better accommodate two growing children. They basically plopped a humongous two story box in back of the original historic structure, painted the box in back the brightest flaming orange you’ve ever seen in your life. It was shocking at first but we couldn’t exactly complain since our house for years had been an insane blue although faded now (and to boot, the neighbors on the other side of us have the deepest shade of red). It was at least nice that the original house in front was mostly the same (and painted a neutral palette of beige. We got to calling it the house that Google built because he works at that company as a high falutin manager of developers, the orange was literally that orangey. It’s faded a little over the years so it’s a little easier on the eyes. But that Hardiboard paneling so popular here for some new construction, seems to hold paint pretty well…..so we’ll be looking at it for the rest of our days.

    In the morning an orange glow penetrates certain rooms of our house. I bet you’d like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 21, 2021 / 8:39 am

      All very much the opposite of what my neighborhood looks like. Here, there are no houses whose colors jump out at you.

      Like

  40. Platypus Man April 21, 2021 / 8:54 am

    In 1993 England were eliminated from the soccer World Cup qualifying competition by the Netherlands. The Dutch side wear orange shirts, and after the match the English manager was quoted as saying “Do I not like orange!” thus demonstrating that his command of English language syntax was no more impressive than his skills in soccer management. English football fans of a certain age still shake their heads sadly at the memory. Do we not like orange!

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Jeff the Chef April 21, 2021 / 10:09 am

    It is a great color, especially if you associate it with sunsets and sugar maples in autumn. But if you associate it with prisoners and construction cones, then maybe it’s a downer. Nonetheless, I love a good orange when I come across one! So many times, they look so good, but then their too dry, or too acidic. Or too hard to peel. I’m already starting to be offended by it. I need to think about another color. Like black.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 21, 2021 / 12:25 pm

      Jeff, I think that the Sumo Citrus would be right up your alley. Easy to peel. Nicely balanced flavor. Go for it!

      Like

  42. alhenry April 21, 2021 / 6:09 pm

    It IS odd about the rareness of orange in the displays of a mallscape. I mean, many stores in malls are apparel-oriented, and orange is a color that flatters EVERYONE. All races, ethnicities, and hair colors (well, maybe not pink). Orange could be the uniting force for humanity. Possibly you have uncovered a cause here to which you can devote your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Mellow Curmudgeon April 21, 2021 / 6:29 pm

    Love the mix of orange and green when the sugar maples turn and the oaks still think it’s summer.  A few nonconformist red maples turn orange also.

    Love the mix of orange and blue in NY Mets uniforms.  Too bad there is little else to love about the Mets in many years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 21, 2021 / 10:51 pm

      An amazing thing about the Mets is that they won the World Series (in 1969) a mere seven years after their inaugural season.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 21, 2021 / 10:53 pm

      Hey there. Many thanks for stopping by. If you haven’t tried a Sumo Citrus, give it a whirl. See ya.

      Like

  44. roughwighting April 23, 2021 / 7:57 am

    I’ve become a new convert to orange. When I first met my guy, he was an “older” bachelor (36!) and his condo was all brown and orange (burnt orange) with some dark green. When we moved in together, much of that furniture was tossed or reupholstered. Brown/orange. Ugh. But then a year ago we also discovered the Sumo orange. Yum. So easy to peel. Large. But of course quite pricey. But I began to buy bright orange-red tulips and roses and found them so cheerful. A few weeks ago I bought a new blouse. Yup. Bright orange. So, Orange is Back! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 23, 2021 / 1:17 pm

      Hi there. Orange, I now think, is a bit more popular than I thought when writing this story. As for the Sumo, I’m going to try and find one very soon, because its growing season is ending about now. Take care. See ya!

      Liked by 1 person

  45. Fictionophile April 23, 2021 / 10:32 am

    Wow Neil, what an inventive idea for a post. Orange has historically been one of my least favorite colors and is a color that only looks good on dark skin tones IMHO. That being said, there are exceptions. My baby grandson rocks the color orange.
    And oranges? I love them. My favorites are called Orri Mandarin oranges.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 23, 2021 / 1:21 pm

      Hi Lynne. There’s not many things better than a glass of good quality, freshly-squeezed orange juice. I could go for one right now.

      Liked by 1 person

  46. chattykerry April 23, 2021 / 11:19 am

    I love your ode to orange (and love the cool mask). Navel and blood oranges are my favorite – don’t see blood oranges often.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Kim Bultman April 23, 2021 / 12:30 pm

    Yay for flamboyant, snazzy, jazzy, good-spirited orange! (I agree.) Loved the tunes, too. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 23, 2021 / 1:28 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Kim. Have you ever heard Love’s version of My Little Red Book? It’s great. Somewhat surprisingly, it’s a Bacharach/David composition.

      Like

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