Friday, September 30, 2011


It was our last son’s last Cub Scout Pinewood Derby, and my husband and I were not heartbroken to see the end of that era. Mark, on the other hand, along with the other little Scouts who had carved, sanded, and painted their rectangular blocks of pinewood, arrived at the race just as excited, proud, and hopeful as the rest of our boys once did. Much to his dismay, however, when he placed his car on the official scale, it weighed too much. Our family huddled. We decided the only thing to be done at that point was to shave off chunks of wood from his handiwork, one cruel slice at a time. Watching his car being whittled down, Mark simply said, resignedly, “I should have just made a motorcycle.” We all laughed at his good humor and good nature. He was neither overwhelmed by disappointment nor overcome by failure. For better or worse, this was simply a creative experience.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Watermelon: the perfect gift

I'm convinced watermelon was the forbidden fruit

Twice in my life, I’ve been given a whole watermelon for my birthday. One year, when I was a young teenager, my mom said, with a twinkle in her eye, “Go up to your room. Your birthday present is on your bed.” And there sat a green watermelon with a big, red bow tied around it. Because it was all mine, I was allowed to eat the heart right out of it—guilt free.

This year my friend Judy planned months ahead to give me a birthday watermelon. She planted a watermelon patch and gave me occasional updates on her fruits' progress. She’d heard me say many times how much I loved watermelon and was convinced it was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden—irresistibly delicious! What I didn’t know, in this age of engineered fruits and vegetables, is that the seeded variety is so much sweeter and so much juicier than the seedless type I’d become accustomed to.