My mother-in-law will fool you. She has perfect diction. She knows where all of the many forks go when you set a fancy table. She plays the harp. She and her husband put everyone to shame when they dance at weddings - straight backs, weightless, floating to any song as if they were attending a cotillion a hundred years ago. She's just classy.
Every now and then though, her inner hillbilly sneaks out. She wades knee deep in the turtle pond to find the lost turtle -so in need of a lanolin rub down for his peely shell. She climbs on horses, likes her steaks bloody, and prefers her sneakers with no socks.
The other day I vented my frustration to her. I've done everything right. I've read every Martha Stewart article about choosing a good watermelon. You heft it...looking for a heavy one. You smell it. You look for one that is evenly green and sounds solid and full of juice. I followed these carefully studied steps. But I kept getting gross, mealy, flavorless melons!
My mother-in-law said, "You have to give it a thunk and pick the hollowest sounding one." HUMPH! I thought. That is silly! Doesn't this woman know that contradicts every piece of research I've ever conducted on choosing a good watermelon?
Fast forward two days to my shopping trip to Walmart. I'm standing in the produce aisle scowling at the green mountain of melons before me. I circle them once, slowly. Then I ignore them and bag some onions, ginger, carrots. Squeeze the mangoes - too squashy. Smell the peaches - too expensive. I pretend I don't care about the watermelons, but they call to me and so does Michelle's hillbilly witchdoctery! Her voice floats in my ears..."Pick the hollow sounding one. Pick the hollow sounding one."
NO! I won't do it! It isn't sound! It isn't true! That's some wives tale from some granny in Fallon or something! I grip the shopping cart handle and build up some speed but as I pass that pile of melons they taunt me! They taunt me I say!
Broken, I slink over to them. I thump one. Solid. I thump another. I can't tell what that sound was. I thump a third. Hollow, like a striped green cave. I pick up that melon like a flea ridden stray on the street. I'm committed now.
It was the most firm, red, flavorful, juicy and sweet watermelon I've ever had! It was. I cut it into rhindless wedges, took it to the lake and back and it held it's shape and firmness! Even Nic couldn't shut up about it.
So I bow to the hillbilly wisdom of my mother-in-law Michelle. She is wise. She is exquisite. I'm not worthy to cut her melon. The end.
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