There were not many pomegranates in Grassy Creek when I was growing up. 

Sixty years ago - somewhat grown up and traveling in Spain - my first encounter was when those juicy red seeds appeared atop my salad, strikingly beautiful and delicious.

But I never buy them and gifts are met with a wan smile, anticipating the trouble and mess of butchering the bloody fruit. So they usually become part of table decorations.

Now, traveling in Spain again (!), visiting young friends, the two pomegranates on the table are cut across the meridian, the halves held seed side down over a bowl and struck all around with a wooden spoon or the back of a knife until all the seeds fall. Remove the few bits of white membrane, add a couple tablespoons of sugar and a slug of red wine. Chill and serve in small wine glasses, perhaps with a cookie or a piece of toasted pound cake.

The moral: Never leave a gift pomegranate on the table.