Jack Remembers: Without a plug sample, how in tarnation can a person tell if a watermelon’s any good?

By Jack Hackley

I love a good watermelon, and it is good for you.
But where are you going to buy a good watermelon?  I bought an oblong green striped watermelon, took it home and if I had cut the heart out  and dropped it on the floor, it would have bounced like a rubber ball.
How do I know? Because that’s what it tasted like – a hunk of rubber.  It was inedible.
Farmers, through a process of hybridization, have discovered how to grow hybrid watermelon that are smaller, and will fit in a refrigerator.  They are uniform in size, and like hybrid corn are more resistant to drought.  Even though they have a zillion little white seeds, the stores can call them seedless, since the seeds are hollow and wouldn’t grow if you planted them.
When I was growing up on a farm south of Levasy, we would always buy our watermelons from a huge watermelon farm near the river at Levasy. They would always plug the melon, and we never got a bad one.
Every year, they would have a watermelon eating contest, where they would weigh each contestant before they started eating, and when they couldn’t eat any more, they would weigh them again.  Whoever gained the most weight was the winner.  Of course, the prize was a big green black-seeded watermelon.  My dad won the contest one year, and gained so much weight, they sent the results in to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.
In high school, the guys I ran around with would have gotten in a lot less trouble if watermelons had tasted as bad then as they do now, because we wouldn’t have bothered going to Mode Garrett’s watermelon patch in the middle of the night.
I went back to the store where I bought the rubber-ball-tasting melon, thumped a a different one and checked the stem to make sure it was ripe when a girl that worked there came by.
I told her about getting the bad melon and asked her if I could plug the new one.  She wanted to know what I meant.  I said, “I’ll take my knife and cut a triangle plug, pull it out, and taste the melon.”
She said, “What happens if you don’t like it?”  I said, “You all will just have to feed it to the hogs.”  She immediately turned and walked away to find the manager, and I put the watermelon in my cart and took another $4.88 gamble.

Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, Mo. 64075 or  Visit

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