Child’s fruit stand has best melon

Published 9:10 am Friday, August 14, 2015

The world’s best watermelons are grown in … (fill in the blank.)

Until last week, I would have said Fair Bluff, a tiny town on the Lumber River that used to be on our path to the Myrtle Beach. Watermelons we have bought there have been dependably excellent over the years.

We don’t drive that way now that four-lane routes have been finished to Rockingham. We bought a watermelon recently at a farm stand in Richmond County, but it was unspectacular. Not red enough. Not sweet enough. Likewise, South Carolina watermelons we tried have been … just okay.

Life has fewer disappointments worse than a watermelon that is just okay. The anticipation of cutting into a watermelon with a butcher knife and having it split open revealing the rich, red fruit must be something like entering the Pearly Gates.

Watermelon has always been important to me. The only photos of me as a little boy are with watermelon — a smiling, dirty-faced waif holding a giant slice with lots of seeds to spit.

In my salad days, I was a champion seed spitter. The invention of seedless watermelon has robbed boys and girls of a lot of fun.

This summer had been a season with just okay watermelon … until Saturday.

I bought a Davie County watermelon.

Three children along N.C. 801 north of I-40 were holding a “WATERMELON” sign, jumping up and down and trying to attract customers. I drove a half-mile before deciding to turn around and help young entrepreneurs who had a half dozen home-grown melons for sale.

“Five dollars,” they said.

I forked over the cash, and then they got my attention.

“We have tomatoes, too.”

For two dollars, they gave me a bag of whopper-sized red tomatoes, enough for dozens of sandwiches.

I didn’t expect much from the watermelon. However …

It is lush and red. It is wonderfully sweet. And by now, it is gone. The best watermelon of summer.

I’m glad I turned around.

Early Presidential Race

Becomes A Circus Act

Thank you, Donald Trump, for the entertainment. The New York billionaire braggart has provided an amusing kick-off for the 2016 presidential race.

Last week’s first Republican debate was high drama, pitting 10 candidates on stage at once as they espoused their virtues. According to surveys, 24 million people watched the debate on TV. Usually such debates are yawners attracting a fraction of that number.

The Donald draws a crowd.

Fox TV anchor Megyn Kelly grilled him about derogatory comments he has repeatedly made about women he doesn’t like. He took umbrage and whined loudly about her for picking on him.

Mr. Trump has pompously boasted about killing the ISIS fanatics when he is President, dealing tough with Russian and Chinese leaders and sending Mexican aliens back across the border. But he struggled to handle Megyn Kelly.

This is going to be a fun-filled election season.

If the debate had featured an unexciting Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, who would have watched?

Trump is good for ratings.

However, we can hope the American voters will eventually consider experience and substance over a celebrity’s political circus act when picking their next President.

– Dwight Sparks