Once I had a beautiful garden, tended with love and labor that enriched my soul and filled my belly. One summer I added a variety of sugar belle small watermelons. They were hearty climbers and I constructed a trellis to support the fruit as it flourished in the hot sun.
I remember sitting on my patio in the evening shade and watching the fireflies dancing around
the garden like a tiny private fireworks display meant just for me… to lift my weary soul with the promise of magic and the guarantee of a profitable harvest yet to come. A guarantee well deserved and earned by the labor of my hands and prayers of my heart.
But it was the melons that enchanted me, first lovely blossoms then grape sized fruits that expanded daily to near bursting, They were fragrant right through the hard shell and I could not wait to pluck them down and split them open to enjoy and share the sweet ripe red flesh within.
Finally, the day arrived; I took my basket to the garden and made my way through the jungle of tomato plants and bean bushes to the trellis bearing my prize. I put my hand up and turned the topmost melon to twist it off the vine, but something was wrong. The melon, while looking perfectly wonderful was far too light. I plucked it down and examined it. The was a hole about the size of a child’s fist bored into the bottom of the melon and the entire contents of the fruit had been clawed out. I quickly checked the other melons, but they were all the same… a beautiful empty tableau. Only the shells and the outward appearance of bounty remained. They were garbage on the vine. The raccoons had found a way in and stolen the fruit right before my eyes. It is no wonder they are called bandits.
I only recount this story as an allegory for how I felt this Fourth of July holiday as I sat and watched the fireworks on TV. The fireworks swarming in the sky like fireflies, the promise of the sweet juice of Liberty swelling my heart, increasing my appetite. The anticipation of greatness and justice sweet on my tongue as it always is on this most American of Holidays.
On July 5th I went back to actually living in the USA. The fruit is hollow. Garbage on the vine.