My father used to put salt on his cantaloupe.
I was baffled by the salt. Cantaloupe, when it’s perfectly ripe, is a most beautiful, soft sweetness. Salt gave a sharpness I couldn’t appreciate.
I might have been six the first time we visited my father at his new house in Connecticut. My oldest sister would have been 13. I have only snippets of memory from that time, but I distinctly remember eating cantaloupe there. I do remember my father’s frustration when he discovered my sister spitting cantaloupe seeds on the ground. I remember my sister deliberately spitting a pile of seeds right outside the entry door after my father left for work. I remember that feeling of awe at her disobedience and fascination for her newly discovered teenaged rebellion. I also remember the laugh we had the following summer, when there was a cantaloupe vine growing up the stair railing outside the door.
Reverie Farm is new to us. This spring, I will plant a memory garden, as I do wherever I live. I have to start over since I didn’t bring anything with me when we moved. There are rosa rugosa, hellebores, iris, hibiscus, tulips, rudbeckia and peonies, among others–planted to honor moments and people gone by. My sister gets pink “angel” roses. Both she and my father are gone now.
This year, I think I will also plant cantaloupe. Our growing season is short, but if I’m able to harvest fruit, I might even enjoy it with a dash of salt, just to savor the memory.