Garnish Atop the Watermelon

One such an incident happened the Summer of 2003, during our annual family reunion. For as long as I could remember, my Aunt Midge was my favorite relative. I affectionately called her “Aunt Midget” because she was so tiny. Her 4′ 11″ frame, now 84 years old, stooped-shouldered, her eyes now not so keen, everyone in the family checked in with her regularly.

Because I loved to entertain and organize, I got the privilege of setting this reunion up. Everything had to be just perfectly set up and accessible for old and young alike. We all agreed to have it at Swan Lake because it was so serene, loaded with trees for shade and the tables were always clean and adequate. The day was perfect, nice breeze, sunshine; the temperature was perfect for swimming or sitting in the lounge chairs and relaxing.

People began to arrive, setting their food on the serving tables, while I was greeting everyone, making sure they got to their seating table and drinks served. Then, about thirty minutes later, my cousin Sally came up and whispered in my ear, “We have a problem.” “We have a problem?” I asked, “We have a PROBLEM,” Sally repeated emphatically. “There are teeth in the watermelon!” “TEETH in the watermelon?!” I was horrified, and followed Sally to the dessert table to discover, just as she’d said, the tiniest denture lying atop the watermelon like a garnish.

It was the most beautiful cubed watermelon I’d ever seen, but that was of no consequence now. I went to the drinks table and discreetly picked up a plastic fork and disposable cup, went to the watermelon and picked up the teeth, putting them in the cup, and then set them aside until we could find out who they belonged to. Then I took the watermelon and disposed of it when no one was looking.

Just as I’d finished, here came Aunt Midget tottering, crying, “I’ve lost my teeth, I’ve lost my teeth, and my daughter’s going to kill me!” I deserve an academy award for my performance, because inwardly I was laughing my head off at the whole scene, but outwardly I walked her quietly over to my purse and produced her teeth.

The next morning, when I called to check on her, I asked her if she’d been sinking her teeth in any watermelon lately and she retorted, “You’re never going to let me live that down, are you.” I laughed gently and said, “No Aunt Midget that was just too good!”

I never did mention it again, but wrote it in my book of precious memories, to remember the good times my Aunt Midge had provided. She truly was free, live entertainment.