Watermelon

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. WatermelonsWhat 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?

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