First Ripe Melon of the Season

Did you and the crows ever keep watch over a watermelon patch trying to hurry those beauties into ripening?

My brother and I did every summer, accompanied by crows in trees along the edge of the field. We kept tabs on all the larger melon’s state of ripeness by watching the color of its curl.

When the curl started dying, we’d switch to the thump method of determining the readiness for consumption. In dirt so hot we hopped around to relieve the burning of bare feet, we stood by promising candidates trying to hurry the process, but if they didn’t have that deep, flat, thud sound when thumped, we gave up the vigil for the day only to come back the next one for a repeat.

Our parents had, of course, given us the usual warning, “Leave the watermelons alone. They’re our cash crop.”

In the ’40’s and ’50’s we didn’t know and didn’t care what a cash crop meant.

At last, when the curl and thump agreed, we’d carefully remove the melon from the vine, hopefully leaving no evidence of our pilfering for Daddy to find.

The reward of our long wait had come. We’d smash the melon on the ground, busting it open, and causing the heart to come loose as one big, sweet, juicy piece.

Reaching in, we’d pluck that heart, divide it between us and eat; sweet juice running down our chins and dripping from our hands.

There never was a better melon than the first ripe one of the season.

What’s your watermelon or other Oldtimy Country story?

February 24, 2010 · Carolyn · 4 Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: country life

4 Responses

  1. Robert - February 24, 2010

    Interesting post. I never knew how to find a ripe watermelon! Thanks.

  2. Kat - February 28, 2010

    I love watermleon!!! Yummy to my tummy. Was it still refreshing eating it straight from the vine in those hot summers? I can’t imagine it without being cold from the refrigerator. You can tell I was not raised on a farm like many people these days. 🙂

  3. Eric - March 1, 2010

    I remember planting watermelon seeds as a boy and watering them each and every day for months until the vines were thick and strong, and melons about the size of a peach were growing from them. My father went outside on a Saturday morning, and promptly mowed them all with the lawn mower. I was terribly disappointed.

  4. Melanie - March 3, 2010

    Oh, I bet that watermelon tasted so good! There’s nothing better than fresh home grown fruit. You just can’t get that stuff these days.

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