I was walking through the produce section of the grocery store the other day when I came across some watermelons. Unlike when I was a child, they are often available year 'round, now. As I checked the sign for the variety and price, it said that they were seedless. When I was a child, it was rare to find a seedless watermelon. Now the seedless melons seem to be the norm. I honestly don't remember the last time I saw a watermelon with seeds in the grocery store. You can usually still find a few at a local Farmer's Market, but it seems next to impossible to find one of the jumbo, juicy fruits with seeds in the local supermarket.
I have also read that, like other fruits that formerly contained seeds, growers have been hard at work cultivating the seeds right out of the watermelons. The article I read suggested that soon, those slippery black seeds that contrast so beautifully against the crimson red of the melon will be a thing of the past. (I will have to search again for that article and post it here for you.) Now, where is the fun in that?! Watermelons without the seeds completely takes away one of America's favorite past times.
Fun? Past times? Just want am I talking about you wonder. As I stood there looking at those watermelons, memories of summertime, childhood fun came flooding back. I had to smile, even laugh a little, as my mind went back in time.....
We couldn't wait for that last day of school. We were usually already packed up and ready to head for the lake as soon as school let out. A good-sized group of us kids, in the same age range as my little brother and I, from various towns, and even other states, were all heading out to spend our summer at the same campground. We were a close knit group of kids and enjoyed many activities together all summer long. Unlike today, where watermelons are available all year long, we had to wait until the heat of summer for the luscious fruits to ripen. And with those first ripe watermelons came one of our most favorite summer games - our Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest, of course! Clad in our summer attire of swimsuits, we each greedily grabbed a huge, long watermelon wedge, the full length of one of those looooong, generously seeded, stripped watermelons. We ran and grabbed our place in line across a field in the center of the campground and eagerly dived into our hunk of melon, no eating utensils of course. With red, mushy watermelon all over our faces, and juice dripping from our chins, we each took our turn to spit our seeds as far as we could shoot them. Usually one of the 'hip' and courageous parents was the distance judge.
As the contest got underway, the squeals, giggles and laughter began to grow. It didn't take long for us to forget that we were suppose to be taking turns and the speed of seed spitting grew rapidly, turning our group of kids into a human machine gun. The fun-filled laughter continued and soon we forgot that we were playing a game to win and orneriness set in. Yes, we started aiming the seeds at each other! The fun continued for hours as we aimed, spit, ducked, squealed, screeched, laughed, hit, missed, and just completely let ourselves go. It was summer entertainment at its best, no electronic devices necessary. And when the watermelon and seeds were all gone, and our mouths were just too tired to spit even one more seed, we ran across the road and jumped in the lake to wash all the sticky off. And right now I am smiling a big warm smile as I remember those good ole days.
But as the seeds in the 'new and improved' watermelon varieties disappear, so will those carefree, stress-relieving, seed spitting contests of days gone by. It is sad that today's youth may never know the joys of the Seed Spiting Contest! Do something extra special for a group of kids in your life this summer. Search out a Farmer's Market with some old-fashioned watermelons, grab an armload of them, and treat a group of kids to some fun they will never forget. You will enjoy it as much as they will!