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Here lies Jimmy

Some women retain water. I retain watermelons. Two summers ago, I bought a watermelon three blocks from my house. We transported it to Tybee Island, and brought it home again.

A week later, we loaded it in my car, and drove it to the Mississippi-Tennessee line, briefly across (which in some Mississippi counties is a misdemeanor), and back.

A few days later, it accompanied us to Cape Coral. There, our watermelon swam in a frigid wading pool, outfitted in giant yellow sunglasses and a pair of red swim trunks. My amiable daughter quietly chatted with it, and insisted on the way home that we let him sit up front in a seat belt, for safety.

And he did.

Shortly thereafter, my fruity friend started getting mushy on me. My affection for it waning, however, I sent it on its last hurrah to Grandfather Mountain with my parents. This summer, I parked a watermelon on the kitchen table so long, the kids named it Jimmy. They sat it upright in a chair, strapped it in with their daddy's belt, and set a place for it. We even had to include Jimmy in mealtime conversations and occasionally let it ask the blessing, which amounted mostly to silent meditation.

Neighborhood kids came from blocks around to visit dear old Jimmy. "Wow, Jimmy's better than a hermit crab any day of the week," exclaimed one child.

I feared that all involved had lost touch with the reality that Jimmy, despite the table setting and belt around its waist, was only a fruit of the vine, and not a pet.

To combat my growing concern, I suggested that we have Jimmy for dinner, and, to my surprise, everyone gleefully acquiesced.

That evening I placed pizza and Jimmy on the table and began serving plates. "Don't forget to fix a slice for Jimmy," said one of the middle kids. Oh, I'd fixed a slice for Jimmy alright.

"Hey, wait a minute. I thought you said we would have Jimmy for dinner tonight. Where is he?" Carefully, I pulled back the foil on the bowl of Jimmy.

Horror stricken, in unison, the weasels cried, "Oh, Jimmy. Are you dead?" Then they stared at me like Benedict Arnold stood in my place. Alas, the mourning began.

"We loved you Jimmy," said one. "We will miss you so, so, so, so much Jimmy," said another. "Mama, how could you do this? What will we do without Jimmy? What did he ever do to you, anyway?" said a third. The fourth sat and sniffled softly.

We buried Jimmy in the backyard beside our deceased, beloved dog, Hampton; a previous victim of my pull the plug decision making powers.

My spouse said a few words over the dissected: "Here rests Jimmy red and green, put to pasture by the queen of mean. (I shot eye darts at him) Poor Jimmy, a life cut quick, by a woman who needed a Ginsu fix. (I glared.) Okay. Sorry. Sorry," he chuckled. "Jimmy, we hate that you fell to pieces man."

"You realize," I interjected, "If I hadn't taken action we'd be reciting, 'Here rests Jimmy shriveled and rotten, still on the table, but not forgotten.'"

"Well, look at this way kids," my husband encouraged, "we're saying good-bye to Jimmy, but next spring Hampton will push up a lot of little Jimmy sprouts right here."

My payback: a reincarnated, personified watermelon fertilized by a dead dog, both of which I had a hand in euthanising, and a husband with an excuse to not mow the grass.



Web posted on Monday, August 22, 2005











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