The Old Man on January 29th, 2008
You have a minute? I will tell you a story.
Keep in mind this story refers back to the nineteen fifties.
Have you every thought about how watermelons get to market? Well let me tell you something, it’s not as easy as you might think. You have to plant the seeds and hope that a lot of things go well. So let’s say everything went good! I know the first time I planted watermelon seeds, there were about five of us that day in the field, you have a small bag that you carry with you and in that bag you have the seeds. I asked the farmer how far apart do we plant them, he said take three steps poke a hole in the ground and drop two seeds in the hole and then cover the hole with dirt. So I took three steps, the farmer said “hold it Wendell!” and he laughed, your three steps are a little short. I want you to take three giant steps, I did and he said “that’s better”! We planted the melons that day, but let me tell you the temperature was about ninety degrees or higher, the sweat running down in your eyes when you get to the end of the row your planting. You get to sit down and rest for a few minutes, and that cool drink of water is mighty good! Some months later the melons were ready to pick. We would get a job helping our uncle down at the train station, our job was to put straw in the box cars and staple paper up on the side walls. We would do three or four box cars, and we were paid a set price per car. Then the fun begins! When the farmers bring the watermelons to the train station it was our job to load them into the boxcar. But first let me tell you what happens in the watermelon patch. The farmer drives his truck through the field. One or two men in the back of the truck and about four men walking on the ground. What they would do when they found a ripe watermelon is, they would cut it and then pitch it up and over the side of the truck bed, the men in the back of the truck would catch it and lay it down, sometimes one would slip out of their hands, when that happened they would eat it, and boy are they mouth watering good. This type of loading is extremely hard and it is very hot work. Now back to the box cars the truck pulls up close to the box car close to the doors, it takes about three men inside the box car. One man in the truck pitches a water melon to the man standing at the door, he throws it to the next man. They pack them inside about four high until the box car is full. Of course every now and then someone will accidentally drop one ha ha (or on purpose) if the boss asked it was accidental “of course!” Ha-Ha. Boy when that happens everyone scrambles to get to the melon first, the six inch knives come out of the pockets and we go for the heart of the melon, you know the center which is the best (It’s red and juicy on the inside). After the box cars are packed, and the doors closed and locked, our job was done.
When I was planting those watermelons back in the summer I never new at that time there was so much work involved to get the melons to market. When the box cars reach there destinations someone has to unload the melons back into a truck, and take them to the market. We also know that some of the trucks when leaving the fields take them straight to the marketplace to be sold.
The water melon I liked the best was called Black Diamond. I don’t think they grow them anymore because they don’t ship very well.
Have you ever seen some one thumping a melon with there finger to see if it is ripe. I was taught to do it that way. I wish you luck when you try it!
Just how far can you spit a water melon seed?
The Old Man on January 22nd, 2008
One day I was talking to my Father about a sling shot a friend of mine had. I asked Dad if he ever made a sling shot, he said “yes”. But let me tell you something, it takes a lot of time to find the right branch in a tree back in the woods. So I Asked my dad if he could help me fine one. “Why sure son! We will do it this weekend.” The weekend came and I was excited. Dad said “let’s go find that special sling shot branch.” We had to take a small saw with us to cut the forked limb off. We looked in every tree we passed and looking hard to fine the right one, you know its take a lot of time to find the right one, you look at so many forks in the tree and every one you see you think this one is the one! You stand there looking hard at it… nope not this one and you keep on looking until finally with a smile on your face this is it and Dad agrees, let’s cut it , we did and then went home. Now you have to take a knife and cut the bark off very carefully not to gouge the stock. Down from the top of each branch about three eighths of an inch you cut this small ring all the way around, about and eighth inch deep. Now you’re ready to find some good rubber for the bands. In my day we had real red rubber tire tubes. Most of the time you have an old one lying around the house. After you cut them to size, about eight to nine inches long, you tie the ends to the top of the short branches, that little ring you cut around the top to insure it stays in place. Dad was watching me “son tie it good, because if you don’t it will come lose and slap you in the face and that would hurt!” And then you find a piece of leather to make the cup or pocket out of , and that holds the small rock. Now you secure the rubber bands to the pocket with some good string. You’re now ready to shoot it if everything went to scale. You look for a special rock and you give it a test you find out it shoots good. So now we are off to do some squirrel hunting. Thanks to Dad we made a fine sling shot.
A special thanks to my Father who taught me so many things in life.
Something to always remember you never ever put your thumb in the middle of the fork when shooting a sling shot you could wind up with a big thumb. Ha. I’ve been there.
Good gosh son it will only take a minute to do your chore.
The Old Man on January 18th, 2008
The Coney Island I’m talking about, used to be down on west Church street in Orlando, FL . It was west of the rail road tracks and on the south side of the road. The name of the restaurant may be wrong, but it sounds good. So on with the story. On Saturdays the family would go to town and go to Coney Island it was a little restaurant that served some of the best tasting hot dogs you ever— tasted, we would order up a hot dog some chips, and a drink when the waitress sat those delicious hot dogs down in front of you with mustard, ketchup, and onions on it. You can’t wait to get your hands around the bun, and start eating! Then when some one at the table keeps telling you to wipe the mustard and ketchup off your chin you know those hot dogs are lip licking good! When we were through with supper we are ready to go to the Rialto Theater to see a good movie we would jump in the car and Dad would drop us off at the theater. After getting our candy bar and something to drink we would fine one of our favorite seats. Just before the movie started they would show a cartoon featuring the friendly ghost, goofy, Casper the friendly ghost my brother’s favorite was Mr. Magoo. The one I liked best was Popeye the sailor man toot toot. When the cartoon came on my Brother would poke me with his elbow and say [this is what I came to see] I would laugh. Some time the movie would be Hopalong Cassidy, and of course Gabby Hayes. Super man, or Roy Rogers they were all good movies. Oops! I almost for got about Tarzan and Jane. You knew when the movie was over. I was happy that we could go to town on Saturdays and have so much fun.
Did you know that Grand parents will take a minute to talk to there grand kids?
The Old Man on January 12th, 2008
I walked into the doctors office, there were a lot of old folks in there. I sat down and was thinking about it when I realized I was and old man to. I sort of laughed about it to myself quietly of course. While sitting their everyone was so quite. Most of the time that is the way people are in a doctors office, they don’t want to be there no way. Asking the gentleman sitting next to me how long have you been waiting, a long time? I asked what seams to be the problem the doctor is an hour late . I did a head count guess how long I………….. was going to be there. Sitting there twiddling my fingers for a little while, getting bored, I though about and advertisement I saw on TV. I asked everyone if they had seen the advertisement about the man and women that went to a symphony some just shook there head no. Well let me tell you about it, of course you all know they dress up in their best clothes. I noticed that some were listing and some were reading as if not paying any attention to me.. ha ha, but I know they have one ear open for my story, because they don’t want to miss anything. So I continued on with my story the couple was sitting in there seats and the orchestra was playing it was very quite in the theater the lady was tuned to the music the orchestra was playing the man was fiddling around with a radio he had brought with him he had the ear peace stuck in his ear the radio was on as he looked up at the stage what he saw was not what every one else was seeing, his imagination of what was on stage was a rock band playing loud music and dancing around he was keeping time with the rock group he got so excited he reached in his pocket and pulled something out. By this time I had my audience listing. The man was so excited he jumped up, at that split second I jumped up struck the lighter that I HAD IN MY HAND and it lit and I yelled out loud, let me tell you my audience came unglued they started laughing so hard, and then the doctor came walking by he looked at me with a smile on his face and I said there is no one in here with a heart problem doc. As I was looking around every one was still laughing.
I felt good because the story took the edge off all those people who had been waiting so long to see the doctor.
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