Ripe

October 31, 2020

My watermelon is the last of my vegetables to provide hope.  I planted it along with the first attempt at cantaloupes back in April.  The vine has done well, and the flowers have been prolific.  Few of the flowers ever set, however.  I did have five small melons start at various times during the season.  They suffered from the same blossom rot that got many of my tomatoes.  I got so I would check the vines to see if I could find a new melon and when I did I was quick to try and rub the blossom off the end of the tiny melon to try and save it.  I even harvested one of the melons with the rot to see if I could save it.  Alas, poor Yorick, it was to no avail.

I am always at a loss to pick out a good melon in the grocery store.  If it is a cantaloupe, I push on the stem end to see how much give it has.  The problem is I do not know what it is supposed to feel like.  I push anyway, and then hope for the best.  With watermelons I thump the melon to see if it is ripe.  Again, the problem is I do not know what a ripe melon sounds like. I thump anyway, and then hope for the best.  I have been pushing and thumping for the last forty years.  You would think I would quit, but doing something makes me feel like I am still in charge. 

I did have one melon that set and grew throughout the summer.  It was oddly formed and rather than a normal watermelon it looked more like a gourd.  When it got the right size, I kept it on the vine hoping it would flesh out the neck area, but it never did.  It has not been growing (or changing) for some time now.  I knew it was well beyond the time it was supposed to grow to be ripe, but I was reluctant to pick an unripe melon and lose the only one it produced.  After our frost this week, I reluctantly decided it was time to “harvest my crop.”  I brought it inside and had ice cold watermelon (from the frost).  Although the neck never matured, the rest of the melon was delicious.  

Thoughts:  I saw another small melon growing on the vine this week.  It is about three inches long.  I caught it in time and rubbed off the blossom, so it has a chance.  With the cold weather the vine is likely to die before the fruit ever ripens.  I guess I will just wait and hope for the best.  Much of the rest of 2020 has taken the same fate as my melon crop.  We have weathered the weeds and tried to salvage as much fruit as possible.  We have seen bubbles and bobbles in the sports world.  We have seen protests and activism against racism and masks.  We have been told to try anything and just hope for the best.  I still have hope for my small melon.  We need to have the same hope for our country.  Do the work.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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