Have you ever had one of those moments where you get a doozy of a thought in your noodle and, for whatever reason, you just can’t let it go? That’s exactly what happened to me one summer night.
I was sitting at the kitchen table staring out the window at the fireflies dancing in and around the bushes and enjoying the magic of it all. Even as an adult, it is fascinating to watch a firefly dart from one spot to another and it’s always fun when its light blinks out to try and guess where it will show up next. Of course, the silly part of that thinking is that you can never be sure if it is the same firefly or not that appears. It brought back memories from when I was a kid playing against an opponent and we’d swear on our lives that it was the same one and after minutes of challenging each other to prove it, which we never could; we’d simply laugh and continue on.
After awhile, when the action slowed, I thought I’d peruse the local paper and the supplements that came with it. I flipped one of the pages, not really interested in it at all and was about to continue on when I caught a glimpse of a picture of dandelions and a honeydew melon. I thought it kind of strange to see the two together, but dismissed it thinking it was just a photo of summery things.
Some time later while washing dishes, I broke a fingernail and because it had broken so badly, I chose to clip it instead of using the emery board. Out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of one dandelion peeking up from the page at me. “Keep spying on me,” I said, “and I’ll give you a clip you won’t recover from.”
Naturally, it didn’t budge so I held the clippers closer to it. “Oh, so you’re a tough guy, huh? Clippers don’t intimidate you? I can fix that you know.”
I took the clippers and proceeded to clip all the dandelions out of the picture leaving just the honeydew melon resting on the grass. I crumpled the flowers up and tossed them aside. “How do you like me now?” I taunted.
This is where the doozy of an idea comes into play, as if the above wasn’t a bit overboard and strange enough in itself. I had been thinking of making a meatloaf before I got entranced with the fireflies and now I had this crazy vision of a different kind of meatloaf.
What if I could get the meatloaf to have the taste of honeydew melon in it? And if I could, how good would it be? The more I thought about it, the more it appealed to me and the more it appealed to me, the more it beckoned me to try it. Needless to say, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to posit an answer to that query. The big question was: How would I go about incorporating the honeydew melon, with it having so much water, into the mixture of meat that didn’t call for any water at all?
That question plagued me throughout the night and it was in the subconscious mind while I was sleeping that the answer revealed itself. I awoke the next morning with a mission in mind. “I was going to make honeydew melon meatloaf!”
I contacted Lynette, one of my best friends who, for awhile, had gotten on a real health food binge and bought herself one of those dried fruit, vegetable things where you can dry all types of foods and make your own snack packs.
When she answered the phone, I said, "Hi, it's Beth." Then I asked, “Lynette, can that dried food maker you have dry honeydew melon?”
“I don’t know. I never tried honeydew melon. Hold on Beth while I check.” A moment later she came back on and said, “Yeah, I can do it.”
“Good. I’ll be over shortly.”
Before she could say another word, I hung up the phone and made myself a coffee, had breakfast, then showered, got dressed and headed for the market to get a honeydew melon. At Lynette’s, she explained that it would take some time to dry the melon which was fine with me as long as it gave me what I wanted. Two days later, I got the call.
“You can get your honeydew melon,” she blurted as soon as I answered.
“I’ll be right over,” was all I said and was out the door excited about this new idea.
Lynette was waiting for me when I got there and as soon as I stepped into the house she hugged me and said, “I’m so happy you decided to get healthy. You’re not going to believe how good it’s going to make you feel. Trust me; you’ll be a new woman in no time flat.”
I wanted so much to tell her what I was up to but my desire to surprise her was greater and I kept my intentions to myself. I also wanted to run out the door and head home to make the meatloaf but I had to do the right thing and visit a while. I love Lynette to death but there are times when she could talk a dog off a meat wagon.
Two and a half hours later I finally got home and started right in putting all the ingredients into a bowl, mixing it up and putting it in the dish. My oven, though fairly new, seemed to be heating so slowly at that moment, that I felt like I could have cooked the meat faster with a match. Then, after checking it for the umpteenth time, it was ready.
The moment had arrived…the results of my efforts had come to fruition. As if I were handling the most precious jewel in the world, I removed the baking dish from the oven and set it on the cooling rack. I grabbed a plate from the cupboard, a knife and fork from the drawer and with all the reverence I could muster, I cut a slice of meatloaf and gingerly worked it out of the baking dish onto my plate.
Then I lifted a piece on the fork and blew on it with hurricane force winds to quickly cool it off before putting it in my mouth. I’m not certain what it was I tasted on that first bite because there was no distinctive flavor to it. Figuring it was due to it being too hot, I waited a minute or two before trying another piece. That got my attention.
I’m not sure but I think I had asked God to forgive me for wasting so much food about a thousand times that day and somewhere deep inside I had the strangest inkling that God had something to do with it because it was God-awful. After that second bite, I set the fork down and walked out of the kitchen afraid to even look at the “thing” I had created. Out the window went all my dreams of becoming rich for inventing a new dish that would sweep the country. Instead, I found myself wanting to sweep it into the garbage bucket. Even that caused me anxiety because all I could picture was some poor pig eating it and getting deathly sick from it and the FBI tracking me down like some terrorist for poisoning the country’s food supply.
Luckily, the FBI didn’t come looking for me and I found peace once again staring out my window watching the fireflies flit about my backyard. I also decided to leave the new recipes to the Betty Crockers of the world.
November 11, 2013