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Long ago watermelon memories of my dad

KATHRYN YARBRO
Guest columnist

Almost everywhere you looked this week there was a gift idea and a reminder not to forget dad this weekend.
It’s been a long time since I hunted cards or gifts for my dad on this special day. But strong memories about him returned last week when I saw those green watermelons at the market.
My dad wore many hats during his working years. It was a long time ago when he drove a truck south to bring melons and vegetables to North Carolina early in the season.
I remember him talking about being at the Columbia and Edisto Island markets where he got the loads he delivered to small towns. His truck bed was filled with straw so the melons wouldn’t roll around and bruise.
He always had an extra one that he brought home for us. I remember one night when he returned home, he called me and said to look on the well porch. There was the first big melon of the season sitting in a tub of water to keep it cool until morning. We couldn’t wait to taste its sweet, red juice and usually ate it early in the day.
We didn’t know how fortunate we were. We had many treats that others in the neighborhood didn’t have because my dad did not like farming.
That’s why he usually had a truck and hauled one thing or another. In later years when we (siblings) got together and reminisced about our growing up years, we laughed about this as a small crop of cotton was planted on all the farms and dad had a young neighbor come and plow his fields.
He chose another line of work and drove a truck for many years. He tried other things and after we were all grown, he wound up in Florida and spent 30 years or more in a supermarket where he managed the produce section.
Dad was proud of this job and the years that he spent there. He liked his Florida life and refused to even talk about living anywhere else.
Weekends with him were extra good during the winter months when we relaxed in his backyard.
There was mango, grapefruit and avocado trees but no melon vines growing there.
It’s been many years since those watermelon summers and Florida visits, but memories of good times with my dad will remain forever.

Kathryn Yarbro is former managing editor of the Lincoln Times-News.

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