A Holiday, a Funeral and Watermelon

I haven’t been online much lately. We spent most of the week in upstate New York after Jerry’s grandfather died unexpectedly last weekend. Art lived a long life (87 years), but his fall on the bathroom floor came as a surprise. He was getting ready for his granddaughter’s graduation when the accident happened. He still had spunk, and he had hopes and plans—to visit us in New Mexico, to visit Jerry’s parents in California. Art was a good man, missed by many.

But things don’t always go as we expect. And so, my parents canceled their plans to visit us early last week and Jerry and I flew to Buffalo instead. As the saying goes, life is what happens when you’re making other plans. Though the circumstances were less than pleasant, it was good to see the family. We managed to squeeze in some uplifting togetherness. Stay tuned next week, and I’ll tell you about watching Canada Day fireworks over Niagara Falls and eating Buffalo wings (which, by the way, are gluten-free when prepared the original way) in the town that invented them. And I’ll tell you about a 50-some-year-old bottle of port that made the rounds in Art’s honor.

But tomorrow, we’re heading north to Colorado to see a couple of dear old friends in an effort to salvage a bit of the vacation we had planned for the long July 4th weekend. For now, I’ll leave you with a little missive on something we all love this time of year: watermelon. I’ve actually had these photos in my archive since last summer, when I went through my juicing craze. I made watermelon-green apple juice like mad. At more than 90 percent water, you get a lot of mileage from your melon. I juiced a pitcher just before we left the country last September and, well, I never got around to talking about the melon. Then winter arrived, and I think we were freezing our fannies off in Darjeeling when I came across the pictures again—not exactly watermelon time.

But now it is. I had hopes of juicing again when the season rolled around, but my juicer broke! I’m bummed. One of these days I’ll get a new one. Until then, I’ll just have to eat my melon (which I did a lot of in New York).

I remember when I was little, watermelon was something we ate on the hottest, muggiest summer days, and it was always considered a treat—not the nutritional wonder that we now know it is. “There’s no nutrition in a watermelon,” my mother used to say. She’s amazed, today, at the evolution of knowledge. Considered a “super food,” watermelon is cherished for its lycopene just as tomatoes are. Watermelon is linked to everything from good heart health to vibrant, dewy skin.

So go have one!

6 thoughts on “A Holiday, a Funeral and Watermelon

  1. My condolences…my best friend’s grandfather too has just passed and he too was a spunky, tough, rough and get’em type. He was my friend and a grandpa to me. They are greatly missed.

    On the subject of watermelon, have you ever had it with salt? I’m not sure if it is a Southern thing but I’ve found many southerners eat watermelon with salt.

    I’m not at all unfamiliar with the taste of fruit and a bit of saltiness, being Lao, we will eat many unripe fruits with salt and chili pepper dip. Green sour mangoes, tart green apples, young plums…anything that is crunchy and still sour we enjoy with the dry salt/chili pepper dip or we make a dipping sauce with sugar, chili pepper, ground roast rice powder, shallots, and fish sauce(nam pa) or with the super stinky unfiltered fish sauce (pa dek). The sauce version is definitely NOT for the uninitiated. My sisters will often times mix fresh chilies in with the sauce version to add that extra kick of spiciness.

    I’m not sure what it is with your blog Karen, but I always end up sharing more that I expect to when I make these responses. I digress.

    My thoughts and prayers be with you and yours.

  2. So sorry to hear of your loss. My grandparents were the magic in my life. I miss them every day.

  3. Funny thing, I just finished eating a bowl of watermelon as I read this! So refreshing.

    Sorry to hear of your husband’s and your family’s loss. We lost my Grandpa Schwister in April. He was 94. Still driving, still living on his own, and full of spunk until the end. Keep the memories.

    Side note: my mom wanted us to grab some mementos from Grandpa’s place this past weekend. I grabbed an old ricer (great for mashed potatoes), and metal toaster — it looks like an “A” where the sides open up and the heating coil is exposed right in the middle. It’s got to be 70 years old and still works! It looks something like this one: http://www.toastermuseum.com/scripts/toastercollection/col_character01.html

    Really neat. Just thought I would share… Take care.

  4. I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Hope your Colorado trip is restorative.
    And I look forward to hearing about your authentic Buffalo wings!

  5. Thanks, everyone, for your comments and good wishes.

    Souavarat, like many fruits, I have had watermelon with salt. I knew I was going slightly native when I found myself choosing orange juice with salt in Thailand. The Mexican paleteria up the road here makes awesome watermelon-chile-salt popsicles. And spicy green mango salad? It’s one of my absolute favorites.

    Thanks, Brock. I’m glad I had the time with Art that I did, although I wish we had seen more of each other. Jerry and I have great memories of him trying to stomp out the bees that decided to swarm the field where we held our outdoor wedding on an Oregon ranch.

    Shellie, I’m sorry to hear about your Grandpa. Sounds like he had a long, active life, though! And that’s quite a toaster you got there.

    Annie, thanks. Had a great time in Colorado. Buffalo wing report coming soon!

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