Monday was National Watermelon Day. To celebrate, our family enjoyed (gorged ourselves on) a big bowl of this sweet, juicy melon. To be perfectly honest, our celebration was just like almost every other day this summer; a long, hot, humid day culminating in an afternoon snack of sticky red deliciousness.
Southern summers and watermelon go hand in hand. You simply cannot have one without the other. LITERALLY. Like most traditions, this one is adage: One must never, EVER purchase a watermelon before the first day of summer, and one must never, EVER eat a watermelon after August. To purchase a watermelon in the off-season is tantamount to blasphemy! (The Boy has committed this sin on occasion, but as a West-Coast kid, God Love Him, he just doesn’t know any better.)
Watermelons are meant to be eaten in season, purchased from the backs of pick-ups parked along rural roadways, grown on local farms, and shared with friends and family. They should have seeds. Occasionally, they should be floated in a creek, cut into wedges and eaten on a bank with grass scratching at your ankles as you casually swat flies away from the sticky dribble on your mouth and chin…. but I digress into memory!
Luckily we live near a little town in Louisiana that boasts the best watermelons in Louisiana. It is a little place called Sugartown, located in Beauregard Parish. And last month, during the height of the Sugartown growing season, we enjoyed their titan delights. We also enjoyed the Beauregard Watermelon Festival in DeRidder, which not only boasted a raucous watermelon eating and seed-spitting contest, but carnival rides, live music, children’s entertainment and a livestock show as well. Oh, let me not forget the best part…little bags of watermelon, slices of watermelon, and, in the parking lot, whole watermelons for sale.
In a few weeks, I’ll carve into my last watermelon of the season. When I do I’m sure I’ll be a tad bit wistful to lose my watermelon summer. Until then, I guess I’ll just have to eat my fill!