I just finished cutting up a watermelon. It was a large one, and took me about half an hour. I think most people just cut a watermelon into slices and let the eaters eat around the rind and deal with the seeds, but when I dismantle a watermelon, I cut the rind off and cut it in pieces that can be eaten with a fork, or in the case of my 2 year old grandson, with his fingers.
As I was cutting up the watermelon, I reflected on past experiences with watermelons.
When I was a child, watermelon was my favorite food. When I was feeling bad about something, I would think about watermelon, and it always made me feel a little better. Except one time when I was depressed and the thought occurred to me that even watermelon wouldn't make me feel better. I think watermelon stopped being my favorite food after that.
I was at a fair with my mother and younger son once and saw a stand where they sold fruit. Big pieces of watermelon, pineapple, oranges and others in a large cup, and I thought it was beautiful.
After that, I started liking watermelon again, but not so much as something to eat myself, but as something to present as a gift to others. I volunteered to bring fruit to parties, and almost always brought watermelon with other fruits. When other moms in the moms club had new babies, I brought fruit for their families.
I always wash the rind first, then put the watermelon on a large cutting board. I have a large square colander that I put across the kitchen sink and put the pieces in there as I cut them up. I have back problems, and it always gives me a backache to do it.
I put the rind in plastic bags and throw it in the trash can. Putting it down the disposal has caused some problems before. At our old house we had a big yard and I would compost the rind in a bin on the far edge of our property. We have a tiny yard here so I can't do that. We're not really gardeners, but I wish there was some kind of communal compost place around because I hate to waste all of that organic matter.
I've had some disappointment in purchasing watermelons though. Several times I'd buy one and find it was mushy. Even in a high end store like Wegmans I had some mushy watermelons. It's always maddening because it would be a pain to bring a watermelon back to the store and I don't always remember to save the receipt.
Last week, for the 4th of July, we had some friends drive down from Maryland for a barbecue and I cut up a watermelon for the occasion. This time instead of buying a small one, I went for one of the larger ones, and I was glad I did. This was an excellent watermelon, as good as the ones I remembered from my childhood.
My husband and I haven't done much entertaining since we moved to Virginia five years ago. My friends from Maryland don't like to make the trek down here to Virginia that much, but three of our favorite couples came for the 4th.
I set out a huge bowl with the watermelon in the middle of the kitchen table. The wives congregate in the kitchen (as we usually do) and the husbands in the adjoining family room. The watermelon bowl spent about half of the party in the kitchen, then got moved to the other room. Every other time, most of the watermelon is left and I end up throwing a good bit of it out later in the week, but this time, most of it was eaten. I put what was left in containers and gave it to my guests, saving just a small amount for my grandchildren for the next day.
I bought another watermelon at the same store (Harris Teeter) a few days later. It looked like the same kind, and was just as good. Tonight I cut it up and put it in containers for tomorrow. I'm meeting up with some mothers and their kids at the local mall. We often have lunch together at the food court. I'll bring enough watermelon for anyone who wants it.
You're probably wondering why I'm blathering on about a watermelon, and I'm not quite sure myself. This seems more the subject for a facebook post, but of course it's way too long for facebook, and I don't think many of my facebook friends would get the introspection.
This was the first time I really loved the taste of watermelon since I was a kid. I don't know if it's because I've had 40 years of mediocre watermelons, or maybe there's been some kind of malaise caused by that long ago depression that killed my love of watermelon.
Last week on the 4th was the best get together we've had since we've moved here. I might mention, moving here has been a difficult adjustment for us since we have most of our family and friends in Maryland -- I really really love Maryland, which is why I'm JamieG from Md even though I live in Virginia. But last week was great, the food worked out, the logistics, and our friends didn't feel they had to rush off at 6:30 because they dreaded the drive home (it's only about an hour, to an hour and fifteen minute drive, but our friends are wimps, we make the drive up to Maryland several times a month).
One of our friends called a few days later and said they'd like to come down to get together again soon.
I've been seeing a new chiropractor these past few months and he must be doing something right because for the first time, I didn't get a backache while cutting up a watermelon.