With cantaloupe, eat ice cream.

For those times when you’re pinching pennies:

    One ripe cantaloupe, transported from as far away as possible. Halved, seeds removed, pesticide residual remaining.
    Two scoops of Lucerne vanilla ice cream.

For those times when you’re not:

    One ripe cantaloupe, organic, local (no more than a 100-mile radius!). Halved, seeds removed.
    Two scoops of Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream.*
*Garnish with three mint leaves and a side of prosciutto.

Carrageenan is the worst thing ever. But he didn’t care. Every Saturday morning, my red-headed brother emerged in jeans and a t-shirt, walking stocking-footed into the kitchen. My ginger-haired brother, old enough to be my dad which was good because, after my mother died, he practically was. He opened the freezer, crunching masculine knuckles past the frost, removing the rectangular cardboard carton of cheap vanilla ice cream, setting it on the counter. It wouldn’t take long to soften in the mile-high light of the New Mexican sun.

The cantaloupe sat next to the chipped, electric stove, grease dappled beneath splattered, dusty panel board. He opened the cupboard above it, taking out one of those bowls we’d earned by trading in our S&H stamps. Those bowls with chipped green borders and tiny blue flowers. There were five of us living on two hourly Safeway incomes. We took whatever we could get, as long as we could get it at Safeway.

He cut the cantaloupe open with a steak knife, scooping out the seeds and cutting off the rind, right on the counter: we didn’t do cutting boards. But he always cut it only in half, anyway, so damage to the formica was minimal.

Forgoing the bowl, he walked back to the ice cream, taking the mechanical scoop out of the drawer, avoiding pulling it out too far lest its flimsy construction result in what could only pass as a pathetic attempt at culinary tools, spilled all over the floor. He slid two vanilla bolls into the center of a cantaloupe half, grabbed a spoon, then headed to the couch. He lay down, back to the side and head propped up, comfortably sunken into the synthetic plaid, licking the creamy fringe of his mustache, excited for the game. The Broncos played the Cowboys, while my brother, with his vanilla ice cream and cantaloupe for breakfast, played my dad.


Top photo: My brother Seth and me at my sister-in-law’s funeral. Durango, CO, 2005. Seth and me at Alki Beach in Seattle, on his visit for my MFA graduation. June, 2006.