a bit on breakfast

17 April 2003

I bought a cantaloupe at the grocery store a couple of days ago with the intent of supplementing my usual morning omelette or burrito with something a bit more healthy. I got oranges too, so I'm all set for the rest of the week with breakfast. This morning I sliced open the cantaloupe, wrapped up a quarter of it, and stuck it in my lunch bag before I ran out the door to commute. After playing dodge-ems with SUV-driving idiots for half an hour, I arrived at work, ate my omelette, and sat down with my cantaloupe as a kind of dessert.

I took the cantaloupe out of the Ziploc bag and unwrapped the plastic wrap I had hastily slapped on before leaving the house. The scent bloomed and invaded my senses like roses do when you walk by a garden. It smells like summer in Mississippi. Since I am a civilized grown-up now, I cut the good part off the rind with a knife and fork instead of sticking my whole face into it like when I was a kid. The flesh was firm, ripe and just right when I slid a fork into it.

I spear a piece of melon and bite into it. The sweetness of it explodes in my mouth; juice dribbles down my chin. Suddenly I am eight years old again, sitting in a lawn chair on a sweltering August morning at Old Methodist Campground, eating an impromptu breakfast from the leftovers in the communal refrigerator. Later that morning will be church. Right after service, the old Southern ladies in their print cotton dresses will put on lunch for everyone in my cabin with the precision and timing of a veteran Army platoon deploying for war. For now, I sit cross-legged, occasionally swatting mosquitos, devouring a piece of cold cantaloupe in the hot sun. It tastes like nectar and ambrosia to me.

Recently I had foie gras with French wine, and it was mighty fine, indeed. I think, however, that I derived more primal pleasure from eating a quarter piece of cantaloupe at my desk and licking my fingers afterward than from the sophisticated meal I had last week. I was able to have a little slice of my childhood with breakfast, and it was good.