Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Missing Out

Uncle Bill, my mom's older brother, served in the Army twenty seven years or about. He often got out, I heard, then when the economy soured, returned to the service. He saw 3 wars or for the historically accurate, 2 wars and a conflict- World War II, Korean and Vietnam. He was stationed all over, Holland, Germany, England, during WWII, where he met his wife, Madge. They lived in Hawaii and I think also Japan.
After Hawaii, Aunt Madge put her foot down to settle in Tennessee, near Fort Campbell. That is the only place I knew her to live.
One summer he was there and we visited. This wasn't unusual, as before I was born, the family made the trip with Grandma. I believe Dan got bit by a bug and swelled up and I think this is when Gerri Lee acquired a blood clot, too. But sometime, I'll have my sister guest blog and tell some of their stories, first hand.
The summer I went with Mom and Dad, was probably like any other summer in Tennessee, much hotter and humid than in Pennsylvania. My impression was everyone had air conditioning. No one had it when I was growing up, just businesses, especially funeral homes- Cunningham's was cold.
I mentioned before, I entered my first air conditioned church in Clarksville, where my cousin, Andrea and her family attended. Andrea is the oldest cousin and by 1970 had three children. Lynn, only 3 years younger than I, Daniel, yes named for my brother, and Toni, the name Grandma could never get right. I loved playing with them. I only met them a few times. Andrea traveled to PA, when I was in kindergarten and then either a year before or after this trip. I almost immediately picked up their southern accent. Never did get down the "yes, sir" or "yes, ma'am," like my mother dreamed. Nor did I did say, "Mamma," or "Daddy" but I sure got that drawl quickly. I'm even thinking it now as I write.
Uncle Bill had a large backyard that green overgrown trees invaded. Cousin Billy loved cats and they had plenty.
I walked in the kitchen one night and Uncle Bill had scooped loads of creamy mounds of vanilla ice cream on cantaloupe boats. Oh, that peachy color and wonderful ice cream on a southern summer evening invited my taste buds, but cantaloupe never delighted my tongue. I was sorry. I could only have ice cream. How could that beautiful color hold such a strong unsatisfactory taste for me? Others loved it, if I listened to Uncle Bill describe it that night and had never tasted it, trying it would be the treat enraptured.
The adults gathered around the table impassioned with this summer dessert. I ate my ice cream, thinking I missed something. But to this day, even with the health benefits of this melon toted, I cannot get it past my front teeth. I love the smell of it, especially candles. I could just sniff and take in the aroma for minutes. Come near my mouth and suddenly it is vile.
I think it is funny the different tastes we all have. I would never criticize a melon, cantaloupe, or honey dew lover, I wouldn't back in that kitchen out of respect for my elders, nor now remembering how inviting those boats looked, yet how I couldn't bring the fork to my mouth. Yes, I'm sure I'm missing out, but then there is probably something you're missing out on, too.
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