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Gosh, can anyone tell me where I can buy a good watermelon? I mean like the ones we used to raise down on the farm. Yes, I know the stores are full of them but I have a hard time finding one that really tastes that good.
I keep thinking back to the 1930’s and forties and remembering the Keckley sweet melons that our old friend Joe Sutton used to grow when he kept garden for the Gibbons family. Those big Keckley sweet melons he grew were sweet, crisp, and delicious beyond description. Then, our other neighbor Bing Withrow grew the best muskmelon that ever was. Just take one vine ripe, slice it, sprinkle a little salt and pepper and you are eating the envy of kings. The flavor would simply intoxicate you. How many times did we treat ourselves this way…Wow! Ironically, we did not grow many melons in our gardens. Dad used to put a few watermelon seed in the corn planter box. Thus, you might have 20-30 vines in the corn field. It was fun finding them when ripe.
Edina had three men who grew watermelons to sell. Bender McCoy grew the 4th of July melon, it was about the size of a soccer ball. Bender took the back seat out of his Model A car, loaded it full of melons and would park in front of McKay’s Soda Fountain. 25¢ would buy you a melon and wow were they good. Then, Zoad Overstreet would bring a pickup load of Keckley sweets (18 inches long) and park on the square, but only for a little while because he sold out fast. Then, Henry Klote would show up with tractor and wagon and sell his load.
I was never a great watermelon grower. My best effort was in the year 2000. I planted 10 hills of Charleston Grey melon on a berm on my second bottom. I tended them for a while and nearly forgot about them till one day late August I was driving by on my tractor and I could see this big melon thru the weed patch. I jumped off my tractor to retrieve this beautiful melon and, in the process, saw nine more among the weeds. Wow how delicious they were. Gosh, I would like to see somebody plant a big patch of Charleston Greys. They would sell like hot cakes. I alone would buy a dozen.
Problem is, the dirt under his fingernail farmer is past. But I cannot stop thinking that the small farmer will make a comeback. But in the meantime, would somebody grow a big patch of Charleston Grey Watermelons and another big patch of muskmelons?
Yup, you could sell them all plus two.