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Sun, Nov 23, 2014

WHITTLE: Market woman’s two big whoppers get attention

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As a trained professional observer of life (newspaperman), I couldn’t help but focus on the lady’s two biggo melons as she moseyed across the grounds at the outdoor Farmer’s Market.

“Are you sure it’s the ‘melons’ you gawking at?” asked wife Pat with a fiery accusatory laser-beamed look streaking out of her eyes.

“Yes dear, I always admire big ones,” I defended lamely.

However, I admit to God, I do “lust” … when seeing big luscious-looking watermelons. Succulent juicy whopper-sized tomatoes (maters) are other big personal turn-ons.

Cantaloupes not so much … they rank a distant third, unless served chilled and covered with black pepper for breakfast like my old daddy liked back on the farm.

Admittedly on hottest summer days, my entire carcass craves watermelons, as evidenced when nostrils flare, constrict and then expand again when first cracking open a ripened melon, and smelling the aroma.

That’s when Whittle lips flutter and flap in anticipation of that first taste of chilled moist melon nectar of sweetness.

Even my bowels love melons, for it’s a medical documented fact that watermelons contain dietary fiber that helps with smooth sailing.

But, let us journey to a higher route on this “ode to watermelons!”

Like many of my colorful friends at Parsley’s Market, melons defy description.

Melons have been described as over-achievers, being both a vegetable and a fruit. Yep, they’re cousins to squashes and pumpkins with their own signature sweet taste, while also being a product of a seed-bearing plant.

I ain’t scientific enough to verify whether that qualifies a melon as being morphodite-types.

Watermelons are personal to me, dating back to when I was a 14-year-old farm boy when asked that summer to help Hornersville, Mo., family Jeff Rawls and sons Joe, Bud and Jim harvest their huge fields of watermelons.

Melons thrive in the light mixed-loam soil of the lower Bootheel of southeast Missouri and north east Arkansas farming country.

Getting paid by the volume of melons we loaded, we could earn between $5 and $15 a day of cutting the melons free of their vines, and throwing and catching them up on the big flatbed trucks destined for Memphis, St. Louis and Little Rock. That was the most I’d ever earned for a day of farm labor.

Being a scrawny kid, farmer Rawls assessed that I best “be a catcher up on the truck” since some of the big melons topped out at 60 pounds or more.

But, one must be alert, for the one time I wasn’t, I caught a big heavy melon in my ribs. I was sore for days from not paying attention.

A perk of working for farmer Rawls is that we could take a break at any time, and seek out the biggest and most ripe melon out there in the field, crack it open, and snatch out the reddest and juiciest part of the heart.

Never mind that our hands were grimy from farm dirt. The melons seemed to taste better when cracked open and consumed out there in the fields.

But now, I’ve gotta run … after hearing about this lady who has arrived at the Farmer’s Market with some biggo scrumptious luscious-looking succulent tree-ripened peaches.

Mother Nature and her attributes are beauties to behold, and I’m a confirmed admirer of big attributes of nature.

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dan whittle, farmer's market, watermelons
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