The Slow-Cooked Sentence

Melon soup

Rachael Conlin Levy
Grandy and me
Grandy and me.

My Great Grandma Peggy was a woman with no verifiable past.

She once told my mother that she had a twin brother, and that she was one of eight children, among them were two sets of twins and a set of triplets. When my mother related this to her mother, the response was silence followed by hoots of laughter. No one had ever heard of the twin, nor name him. No one had met any of the siblings. Nor her parents, for that matter.

Grandy’s past may be as wind-swept as the desert in Stagecoach, Nevada, where she lived, but I remember her vividly:

Grandy potholder 4

She was a round little woman with a face wrinkled and cracked as the desert floor she lived on.

She was a fast, sloppy seamstress, and her gifts were received with hidden hesitation because a shirt may have sleeves that dangled to the knees or a nightgown come with cuffs that pinched circulation at the wrist.

She was an excellent baker. Her rolls disappeared off the Thanksgiving table, and everyone clamored for her pie. But as a cook? Well, born in Boston, she boiled everything.

And when my family gathered for a night of silent, flickery home movies, a favorite was watching Grandy in her garden, in reverse. Oh, how we’d laugh as she re-attached melons to their vines, shoved carrots back into the soil, and then waved goodbye, walked backward into her trailer and shut the door.

The ingredients.

I was thinking about this tiny woman the other day as I composted my melon vines and planted an autumn crop of carrots. I thought about her some more as I turned the last melons into soup and dropped off duplicate ingredients at the neighborhood food bank. You see, it wasn’t until after I’d started Stone Soup that my mom shared with me that when my Grandy lived in northern California she fed every hobo who knocked at her backdoor.

This soup is my own creation, named in memory of my great grandmother, Marguerite Butt Campbell Craft.

In the bowl:
Marguerite’s Melon Soup
with yogurt and mint

Marguerite’s Melon Soup
Serves 4

2 cups of melon such as juicy, sweet cantaloupes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder or to taste
squeeze of a lime or two
Thick plain, whole milk yogurt such as a Greek yogurt
Mint, chopped

Whirl it in a blender. Chill. Top with yogurt and mint.

One response to “Melon soup”

  1. Linda says:

    A memory I have of my Grandma Peggy, later called Grandy when I had children, was that she had no teeth. It didn't stop her at all from eating anything. She mashed and chewed and managed to do just fine. She was 4'8", more or less, but a powerhouse to reckon with. She grew beautiful violets, sweet peas climbed on a trellis and she cultivated a rose garden fence. Thanks Rachael for honoring my little Grandma for I was so blessed to have her in my life.
    Love, Ma

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