I bought a watermelon today. Lee and I were on our way back from Fitzgerald, and stopped to buy a watermelon from a man on the side of the road. They were piled up in the back of his truck, beside which the little old man sat in a plastic chair under an umbrella.
Watermelon is my favorite fruit, but that isn’t only because of the taste. Watermelon always makes me think of my grandparents, Grandmother and Poppo.
As I stood in my kitchen, cutting the watermelon open, the sounds brought the memories rushing back. As the rind split, revealing the bright red fruit, I remembered being a little girl standing outside my grandparents’ home, being handed a piece of ripe watermelon from Poppo. My cousin Jason and I would eat so much of it, with watermelon juice dripping down our chins and south Georgia gnats swarming around our faces. It was hot, but the watermelon was cool and quenching.
Sometimes Jason and I would be playing in the fields, get hungry or thirsty, and just crack open a watermelon on the spot. It was the best treat, and I am happy to associate it with such good times and good people. It took me a long time to cut up all the watermelon today, but I didn’t mind. The memories were so fresh – every sense was tuned to the farm, to Grandmother and Poppo, to Jason, to dogs running around our feet, a warm sun, a blue sky, the land stretching in every direction, the smell and taste of sweet, ripened watermelon – and the feeling of belonging and peace.