Cantelope


One time in the fifth grade, I stumbled across a food pun poem. I just looked it up now; it’s called Do You Carrot All For Me? The author is unknown, but the poem goes like this:

Do you carrot all for me?
My heart beets for you.
With your turnip nose
And your radish face
You are a peach
If we cantaloupe
Lettuce marry
Weed make a swell pear.

I thought it was absolutely brilliant, but I didn’t understand a certain line. What’s the pun in cantaloupe? I went home and asked my mom what it meant. She explained that the word ‘cantaloupe’ was a mix of the words ‘can’t elope.’

“What does elope mean?”
“It means to run away and get married,” my mom explained. “You know who eloped?”
“Who?”
“Gaga and Papa.”
“Really?”
“Yeah. I don’t know all the details, but he told me this long ago.”
~ ~ ~
I’m outside shoveling snow on a frigid winter night when a car comes rolling to a stop in front of me. A person leans their head out the window to shout, “Hey John, wanna go visit the girls?”
I drop my shovel and run to climb inside the car.
As I slide into the passenger seat and close the door, I reply, “Of course I do.”
My friend Charlie and I are both in college with girlfriends who live in the same dorm. It’s normal for us to go and visit them, so of course I immediately agree, even if it’s late at night.
“Cool, let’s go.”
He presses his foot on the petal and we’re cruising down the road.
It’s silence for a little while until he speaks.
“John, you and Elaine should get married.”
I can’t tell if he was joking or not, but I decide to make sure.
“You know that she’s 19, right?”
He briefly looks over at me before looking back at the road. “So? You know the Arkansas rule, yes?”
“What?”
“She can get married at 19 in Arkansas.”
“ … Really?”
He nods. “Yep. You gonna go for it?”
I pause and think for a second.“Yeah. I think I will.”

We pull up in front of the girls’ dorm and get out of the car. We run up the stairs and I knock rapidly on their door. The door opens and Elaine is standing there.
“Hey, John,” she greets. “How are you doing?”
Instead of answering, I just blurt out, “Do you want to get married?”
She stares blankly back at me. “What?”
“Um, uh,” I stammer.
“It’s legal to get married at your age in Arkansas,” Charlie saves.
“Ah. Are you asking if I want to… elope?” Elaine asks.
I scratch the back of my neck. “I mean, I guess?”
“Oh,” she says. “Well, then sure.”
“Really?”
She smiles. “Why not?”
“Ok wait,” Charlie interrupts. “Where’s Judy?”
“Oh, she’s not here right now,” Elaine answers. “Sorry.”
Charlie grumbles something but gets over it pretty quickly.
“Are we going?” he prompts.
“Right, yes, let’s go!” I declare.
I move aside and extend my arm for Elaine as she steps out of her room.
“Ladies first,” I say, grinning.
When Charlie drops me back at my house after the wedding, I immediately rush into my parent’s room. My mom is sleeping on the left side of the bed, dad on the right. I dart over to the right side and start shaking his arm.
“Mom, Dad,” I whisper-shout.
“What, John?” he groans, his back facing me.
“Elaine and I got married.”
He goes still for a second before turning over and facing me. “Is that so?”
I nod, unsure of where he was taking this.
“Good. If you’re married, you can move out.”
So I did. Elaine dropped out of college and we lived at her parent’s house until we got a place of our own. And that was the night of February 2nd, 1956.
~ ~ ~
I’ve asked about this story quite a few times, especially with their 60th anniversary coming up in less than a month. I’ve also thought about eloping and getting married in college. Well, not thinking about like considering it. Just thinking about it. And here is a small “thought” on eloping.

Canteloping might not be the best idea, but I prefer it over an oranged marriage.

Submitted by Kwan, Age 13