Tuesday, February 3, 2009
The First Watermelon - A Rememberance
I would sit on the patio and wait, watching each car as it rounded the curve looking for that red and white Buick station wagon. That red and white station wagon would be carrying my Uncle Porter and Aunt Aliene and the long anticipated Texas Watermelon.
It would be mid-June of the summer of 1965 in Southeast Kansas, the weather would be getting hot and I'd be in the "I'm bored, there's nothing to do” mode, but today it was broken by the anticipation of cutting into that watermelon.
They would finally arrive, Uncle Porter smiling that big broad smile of his, especially big this time because of his prized passenger, not Aunt Aliene but that big, juicy, the other red meat, monster watermelon. The ceremony would begin, Uncle Porter would drop the tail gate of the station wagon and stand there like Vanna White and present the watermelon. "She's a beaut this year!" We would stand there with our mouths open in awe at the green striped object of our desire.
Dad would bring out the wash tub, bought just for this occasion and sit it under the big elm in our side yard. There he and Uncle Porter would carry the melon over, encase it with ice, and cover that with a blanket. "Go play, it won't be ready until after supper." That phase made time go into slow motion. Dad usually got mad after the one hundredth time of me asking if I could check to see if the melon was cold yet, "If you ask one more time there will be no melon for you. I told you to go play." I'd go inside and sulk until supper.
Supper was fried chicken, mashed taters, corn, green beans, homemade bread and an apple pie in case someone didn't want watermelon. The pie would be always be there the next day, if Uncle Porter didn't sneak off with it. I would inhale dinner and then have to wait while Dad finished off the chicken. He'd even chew on the neck bone drawing out the anguish that was building in my soul for having to wait for that long anticipated bite of cold, sweet melon meat.
"Whatsya think Porter, think that melon is cold yet? Think it's about time to slice 'er up?"
"We might have to test 'er out first, Bob, we better make sure it's good before we pass 'er out to everyone."
With that we adjourned to the elm tree, I blasted pass everyone and jerked the blanket off the top to make sure nobody had stolen that glorious fruit. Dad and Uncle Porter would place the melon on the picnic table and prepare for the "test piece" Dad would cut a small triangle out of the middle and inspect the color and smell. "Smells good Porter, I think you might have pick a good one." Then he would drop a bite in his mouth and pick up the "watermelon knife" and slice into it. He always cut the melon in half length ways and then cut the halves into half moon pieces. I'd grab the first one and go sit on the ground under the elm and dive into that precious piece of sweet melon. Aw so sweet it tasted, like candy that would melt in your mouth. The sticky juice would run off my chin and all over my shirt, and I didn't care. The meat would be a deep red turning to pink as you chewed closer to the rind. The black seeds were shot out my mouth into the wash tub where they mingled with the ice. I'd chew up the white seeds, adding to the pleasure of eating my favorite fruit. Afterwards, I'd lay back in the grass and dream of tomorrow when I could eat another piece. The second though was never as sweet as that first long anticipated bite of watermelon.