no. 19 : It is watermelon time in Abilene, Texas!

It is immense. Beyond comprehension and promising joy and never ending refreshment. Holding court in the kitchen, cool to the touch, king of the counter top—The Watermelon!

The four little grandsons are in awe.

How many seeds are in it? How many?! How many seeds?

A curved knife pierces its skin.
Stand back, boys! 
Inside, rich pink flesh is stippled with dark black seeds.

Look at the white seeds! You can eat the white ones!

But don’t eat the rind, boys.

No! Never eat the rind. 

It’ll give you a stomach ache.

Not a stomach ache! No! 

Four grandsons stripped to their skivs. Stripped for ease of cleaning after the feast.

These grandsons wearing also and only their socks and their shoes clamber out the back of the house.

The screen door slaps shut.

Arranged around a low table a menagerie of household items serve as chairs.

A stool.
A vinyl ottoman.
A polyester fur covered donkey with wheels.
A potty training chair, with the chamber pot removed.

Here comes the prize!

Piled high on plates, the slices of melon.

The boys are in a frenzy. Bouncing and pleading. They cannot sit still. Their bodies the display of their desire.

And then it is in their hands.
And then their teeth are into it.
Biting off the tip of the triangle and working down into the wedge.

It is a massacre!
Little lions mauling an innocent fruit.
It is, under this Texas summer sun, the way of things.

Spitting seeds.
Mine went the farthest!
Don’t swallow them!
Chins dripping.
You can eat the white ones.

Too much.
The boy’s bellies are full.
Faces and arms sticky and now hot.
Let’s go inside.

Not yet!
The ritual must be completed.
And so they are corralled for
The Hosing of the Sons.

The first water out of the nozzle burns.
Then it is cool and the boys gather around it.
Rinsing faces and hands and arms, all business.
But then it is laughing and splashing and fun as both adults and children become victims of the indiscriminate gush and ricochet of water

And then inside again.
Into the front room with its gauzy curtains.
The bed is cool. Pillows piled high.
The boys collapse.
The hypnotizing hum of the window unit lulls them to slumber.
It sings a song they cannot fight.

Four grandsons fading in the long afternoon of a summer’s day.
Boys slipping into slumber, one whispers.
You can eat the white ones.

Recommended soundtrack for this post: Tom Rosenthal - Watermelon


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