Clark Hollow Ramblings: The day the watermelons died

By Fred Hsu via Wikimedia Commons
Fred Hsu via Wikimedia Commons

A few years ago, my son introduced me to a song by Jack Johnson, called “Home.” There is a part of that song that came to mind this week. The song is about traveling and being away from home and how you find things when you get back, especially if you were gone for an extended period of time. The passage is,

I can’t believe that my lime tree is dead.

I guess it got fed up with not being fed.

And I would be, too. I keep food in my belly,

and hope that my time isn’t soon.

I wrote about some of the new crops we are trying out in our garden, particularly watermelon and cantaloupe. I love a real ripe, ice cold watermelon. Well, I went into the garden one day last week, and the watermelon vines looked like Jack Johnson’s lime tree. It looked like someone had taken a blow torch to them. They were curled up and limp and, for all intents and purposes, they were dead as a doornail. And even though we have had plenty of rain, I got a couple of buckets of water and put on them.

They perked up a little, but the next day they had just given up the ghost. I have no idea what happened to them. The butternut squash plant had encroached on them a bit, and Linda and I carefully cut the squash plant back and away from the watermelon vines. We were careful not to cut the watermelon vines, but we did disturb them somewhat. I don’t know if that’s what did it or not, but they are dead.

So, not wanting anything to go to waste, I cut off the biggest watermelon, which was about the size of one of those small soccer balls your kids and grandkids play with before they graduate to the full size ball. When I put the knife in the watermelon, it split ahead of the knife, which I have always been told is a good sign that it is ripe. Well, it wasn’t very ripe. It was pink inside and the seeds were about khaki color. It didn’t look very good. I ate it anyway. You know, it wasn’t that bad. I put another one in the fridge and let it get cold, and it was about the same.

I have now eaten three watermelons in three days. They were not entirely ripe, by any means, but not bad. It is somewhat analogous to that guy on TV who is watching a pottery show on some channel, and his wife says, “Why are you watching this?” And the fellow says, “I pay for all these channels, and I’m going to watch them whether I like the program or not.” Well, I guess you could say I grew those watermelons, and I’m going to eat them whether they are ripe or not.

We had fresh corn on the cob last Friday. It was so good. So far this year, we have had no bands of marauding coons get through the fence and destroy our little corn patch. I talked to Wayne Payne at church last Sunday, and he wasn’t so lucky. He had a nice stand of corn, and went to pull some and the raccoons had gotten into it. Of course, they can smell what is ripe, and only get the good ears. As my Uncle Clyde said many years ago when my brother-in-law ran over his cat, “You just can’t have nothing anymore.”

My biggest aggravation lately has been losing my wallet. What a miserable headache that has been. Driver’s license, credit cards, health insurance cards and everything else, are all gone. I have turned the car and truck and the house upside down, to no avail. The only good news in this scenario is that the credit cards have not been used, and I put a hold on them. Still, forgetting things and misplacing and losing things seems to go with the territory called aging, and I qualify for that. Maybe I should get one of those billfolds with a chain on it and tie it around my neck. Yeah, that would work.

Until next time, stay well and see if you can find a real ripe, ice cold watermelon to take your mind off some of this heat. God bless.

Richard Brady
About Richard Brady 150 Articles
Richard Brady was born and raised within sight of Rappahannock Peak, as was his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather, etc. He graduated from George Mason University and was employed for 35 years with various agencies of the federal government. He retired in 2001, and he and his wife, Linda, live in Flint Hill, Va.