Tag Archives: watermelon

A Taste of July

Sometimes when things are hectic, and even grim, heavy with solemn news of tragedies around the world, it’s good to take a deep breath and think on lighter subjects, like the taste of good things. God didn’t have to give us our senses. Have you ever considered that? But He did. He gave us sight, hearing, feeling, and the wonderful joy of smelling and tasting. And I think He smiles when we delight in these gifts from Him.

So–speaking of taste–if someone asked you what you taste when you think of months like November or December you’d readily reply with words such as “turkey,” “fruitcake,” “pumpkin pie,” “orange zest,” “peppermint,” or even “snow cream.” The taste for February? Maybe red velvet cake, Earl Grey tea and Brunswick stew on a cold drizzly day. But July? What are the tastes you think of for July?

Tastes and smells are so interrelated that we can hardly separate them, I think. So the first taste of July that I think of is a grilled hamburger with the aroma of charcoal on a humid afternoon as part of the taste. Imagine a good, juicy hamburger thick with lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion, dripping with ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise, or whatever your choices of those condiments are. The taste may even give you the sensation of ketchup dripping from your chin. And, of course, along with the taste is that wonderful feeling of relaxing with friends and family, being secure in one’s favorite part of the world.

Or consider watermelon. On this taste it’s hard to remove the visual from the taste. Watermelon slices are so festive and beautiful! But think of the taste, maybe at a picnic table in the middle of a hot afternoon. Do you want salt on it? Do you need a fork? Or do you just love watermelon all by itself with your face in it? Do you take the seeds out first, or dive in and taste that sweetness spitting the seeds out as you go? Ahhh, the taste of watermelon heart as soon as the melon’s been cracked open. That’s the best!

The taste of ice cream–now just try that one! Maybe butter pecan, rocky road, strawberry, peach, chocolate, or–even just plain vanilla. Get it in a cone and walk down the street licking as fast as you can to get every delicious slurp before it runs down your arm!

What about all those wonderful vegetables? There’s corn on the cob fresh from the pot with butter drizzling down the rows of kernels. Here’s another one you smell before you taste, first the fresh green shucks as you prepare it and then that unmatchable scent of corn boiling on the stove. That is pure July!

Have you had pan fried okra this year? Prepared from perfect tender pods of okra straight from the Open Air Market in Cairo, Georgia? Pan fried is our way to do okra, sliced thin, dusted with flour and fried in very shallow (healthy) oil. Cook it until it’s almost burned. It’s crisp and wonderful! Serve it with sliced tomatoes, your favorite meatloaf and some fresh field peas.

Don’t get me started on yellow, crookneck squash. There is really no better taste in this world than squash cooked fresh from the garden. My mother used to cook about a peck, I think, every day when so many of the ten of us were still at home. She stewed them and mashed them to a pulp and we ate every bit of it every day. No matter how I butter, salt, pepper, or not, no squash I cook is as good as Mamma’s was. But it is still pretty delicious!

The taste of July–salty sweat, a green sourwood leaf (not to digest, just to chew, as sour as the name says), fresh peach cobbler steaming hot, fried green tomatoes, eggplant casserole, small fried catfish, cantaloupe from Papa Graham’s garden, zipper peas and cornbread. And don’t forget the taste of warm figs picked and eaten at the laden tree with crows fussing because they think it’s their tree. And don’t forget the taste of the sea as you walk a beach, the taste of rain that suddenly cools a sizzling day, and the taste of a crushed mint leaf.

How many tastes would you like to add to my list? Feel free! And, better still, go ahead and really taste them! And remember God delights in our joy.

“O, taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” Psalm 34:8

P.S. This is not an anti-diet blog, just a taste spree!



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Home From the Picnic

You know how it is at a South Georgia picnic/cookout to which everyone’s brought their pot, pan or bowl brimming with good vittles. You eat until you can’t and then you take a few more bites and nibbles. Saturday night’s potluck supper was no exception. There were fresh vegetables, hamburgers grilled by Hubert DeSercy, salads, casseroles, plates of this and that, and unending desserts, decadent wonderful desserts. When we left Johnny and Joanne’s farm (a treat to visit anytime, turtles and all!) we were fully blessed with good food, but also brimming with stories we’d heard from one and another, enough to pack a Guideposts magazine. Being with Christian friends, giving and receiving hugs, catching up on news, worrying a little bit about our country, and sharing some of the latest jokes…hobnobbing some call it…is so good for us all. Whether hobnobbing, sharing prayer needs, fellowshipping, or simply “getting together,” whatever we call it, it’s very important. And swapping stories is a very big part of a good ole picnic.

About some of those stories…

I’d already been aware of one of the stories, the one about the traveling watermelon. Sue had told me the day before when we were talking about what each of us would contribute to the dinner, that she would take her traveling watermelon. She explained that for two weeks she and her husband have been hauling this watermelon in their car. When they went to see their children in North Carolina they put the watermelon in the car, but there was never an appropriate time for a melon cutting. They trucked it back home. A call came that Sue’s 94-year-old dad is nearing the gates of heaven. She and Cecil hurried down to Florida to sit with him. Why not take the watermelon? Could come in handy. But it didn’t. Her dad rallied some and they came home–with their watermelon. One or two other shorter ventures came up but still the wonderful, very large, long watermelon remained uncut. They began to call it the traveling watermelon. When cutting it finally for the picnic, Cecil’s knife slipped somehow and all of one half of the red juicy thing flew through the air and splattered on their kitchen floor. Sue said that spot is now the cleanest in the house after her vigorous scrubbing. We enjoyed the other half at the party and were thankful that God gives us humor when we so desperately need it. We’re still praying for Sue’s dad to have a peaceful flight to heaven and to have a joyful reunion with Sue’s and Cecil’s little seven-year-old granddaughter who died in January.

Dennis and Barbara had just returned from a glorious trip to Grand Canyon and other wondrous places. It was fun to hear their descriptions and identify with them as we remembered our own experiences viewing the Canyon in different lights and moods.

Jesse and Gloria had had a most unfortunate meeting with a deer on the way to the party. Jesse was driving and both of them enjoying the evening sights of north Grady County along Pope Store Road when Gloria yelled “Deer!” But it was too late. The deer lay crumpled and still for a minute but by the time they could get out of the car it gathered itself together and ran off. The car would still run too, but will require extensive repairs to the front end. But Jesse and Gloria are fine and thankful for it.

I loved hearing Billy and Juanita’s tale of his restoring an old solid oak medicine cabinet. Their daughter had found it at a flea market and bought it for $10, a happy find for her since her father takes great joy in turning something ugly, covered in layers of sticky paint, into a lovely valuable object.

Faith told me with eyes sparkling that her son who lives in New Zealand visited home this week. I remember Maxie when he was in the four-year-old nursery school class I taught. He was already an adventurous boy then, one who could turn his teacher’s lesson plans upside down. Now he is a world traveler settled down with wife and son in New Zealand.

As Charles and I were about to leave we got into a conversation with Angie and her family. We’ve known her for years and never realized that when she was nineteen and her son fifteen months she had an accident which almost took her life and put one leg into trauma from which it has never totally recovered. This week was the anniversary (30th?) of that accident so was especially on her mind. But she smiled as she finished her story and showed by her sweet attitude that she’s grateful for so much–her parents’ and son’s support and especially to God for pulling her through.

As we drove home we chatted about various conversations we’d enjoyed together or separately and Charles enthused about a certain piece of pie that was more than scrumptious. I got out of the car at our house, thankful that my plate of stuffed eggs had all been eaten so I didn’t have to worry about putting anything away. In our yard the fireflies were beginning to blink as they made their evening rounds. The cats greeted us, rising with a stretch from the sun-warmed flagstones. They were ready for supper.

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