Growing up on the farm, we had a big garden. Big enough to fill our fruit cellar and deep freeze. Enough to feed our family at every meal, through the winter, until the garden gave up its bounty again the next year.
One thing we did not grow was melons, though we loved them dearly. Instead, we waited for Dillon Marlow to drive his truck down our lane. Every summer he came, the back of his pickup loaded with melons. And then did we feast! As much watermelon as we wanted, every day until it was gone.
He only brought us watermelon once a year. I never thought much about the fact that he only delivered melons once each summer until we began to grow melons on our acreage a few years ago.
We only plant one hill of cantaloupe and then we wait. We watch the vines branch out and the buds blossom. We watch the melons form and fill out, first green and then yellow. Then all of a sudden, they are ripe. Almost all of them. On the same day!
Of course there is no way for just two of us to eat so many melons, though lord knows we give it our best shot. There is nothing so sweet, so tasty, as a vine-ripened melon. For a week we eat like royalty and share our largesse with friends.
This year, today is the day for melon. I brought in six melons. Several others will ripen over the next week. But then they’ll be done for the year. Unlike other produce, melons don’t preserve well. Melon is one of those fruits it’s best to eat fresh.
When I carried all the melons into the house today, I thought of my neighbor who came with his truck just once a summer. All of his melons vine ripened and ready eat. At the same time.