Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Summer side of the family.....

Lately I've been pondering something that I've noticed over the past few years. It's how weather or season of the year triggers childhood memories. We all know that certain smells or tastes or pictures can be triggers. And of course walking through an antique store - "My grandma used to have one just like that..."

But the last couple of years, I've noticed that hot steamy weather takes me back to growing up and farming land at my paternal grandparent's place. Of course, food is a big part of that. I get "a hankerin'" for fried okra, Tolar-Creek-Green-Beans in the pressure cooker, fresh sliced tomatoes, corn-on-the-cob dripping butter.......and watermelon.

I have fun memories of summer events at my maternal grandparents as well; kick-ball games with our cousins, climbing on the roof of the milkhouse (we weren't supposed to do that...shhhh) and playing in the newly refilled haymow.

But when the thermometer hits the 90's and the humidity matches it, all I can think of is watermelon.

Grandpa used to grow watermelons in the garden. When he determined that they were ripe, he would take out his pocketknife and cut them off the vine, and then carry them to the well pit. He'd take off the cover and lower the watermelons to the bottom. I don't think it was very deep - I remember we'd climb down to hand the melons back up...but it was COLD down there.

Then in the hot part of the day, when it was too hot to work or even play, we'd sit around in the shade and grandpa would decide that we should probably pull a melon. He would split that perfectly icy cold melon and hand out big half-moon slices. There were always several salt shakers on the picnic table in the back-yard, so that if there was a crowd, you didn't have to wait too long to salt it up and start enjoying it. I guess the big mystery is why the lawn didn't have watermelon vines instead of grass, because we certainly "seeded it" well enough!

I've enjoyed some great watermelons the last couple of years, but somehow it's just not the same when you pull it out of the refrigerator. I just want someone to dig me a well pit so I can properly chill a melon....

Tomorrow we'll talk about Tolar-Creek Green Beans!

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