Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's Watermelon Time

I love watermelon. I always have. From the time I was a little boy I've loved to smear my face in it especially when I had been working in the hayfields when the weather was hottest. That's not to say I don't like cantaloupe or honeydew melons - It's just that I grew up with watermelon and besides, I get bigger servings with watermelon.

Besides, there are relatively new reports out telling us that it is a healthy fruit - that it has some sort of disease-fighting compound in it that makes it not only good to eat but healthy as well.

Let me tell a true story about a watermelon.

I was working for an NBC radio station back a few decades. I had the morning shift, putting the station on the air at five a.m. with three hours of country music.

The name of the show was "Sunrise Jamboree" and it was a lot of fun for me getting to play records by the top country music stars of the time. I talked about "ole Jim down at the three flagpoles" (literally translated to engineer Jim at the remote transmitting facility several miles west of town - which had three tall transmitter towers behind the building. As a matter of dubious interest, those three towers were still there fifty years later.

Anyway, I also invited people to stop by the say hello, or to phone in requests.

Needless to say, this was well before the days of automation, or top forty programming. One morning an ultra-fundamentalist preacher who recorded his Sunday program at our station stopped by one June morning just to say 'howdy'. We chit-chatted a bit and suddenly he said he would be back in a minute - he had a gift for me in his car. A little later he returning struggling under the weight of the biggest watermelon I have ever see. IT WAS HUMONGOUS! He set it on a big table outside the control room and as we talked (on the air, no less) I asked him where he had gotten it. He replied that he had been to a big religious camp meeting up north in Georgia. On the way back, at dusk, he saw a big watermelon patch alongside the road and as he put it, "Ole Satan just got a holt of me and I couldn't resist the temptation of grabbing one (was it really only one?) to bring home. And so this ultra-fundamentalist preacher shared a pilfered watermelon with me. Maybe it took a little of the guilt away from him, but I invited all my local listeners to stop by for a bit of watermelon on the way to work. (I'd like to think it took a bit of the burden of being an accessory to the crime off of me.)

At any rate, it was a wonderful watermelon and a good time was had by all since it only lasted half an hour or less - our parking lot filled to overflowing in no time.

Yes, indeed - I DO love watermelon. How about you?

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