Pretty much ever since the founding of our country there have been drastic differences between the northern states and southern states. One has always been more rural and agricultural while the other busier with traffic, construction, and industry but there is one thing that has always united the two and stood as common ground… summertime and the front porch.

*          *          *          *

I was born in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan called Taylor, affectionately known as Taylor-tucky due to the population of citizens with southern roots, and I had vivid memories of sitting on our small front porch doing whatever it was that five, six, or seven year old boys did in summertime. The porch was only about eight feet by four feet so not very big and it was painted,  such things were done in the early 80’s, what is known as Blazer Red according to what Google said the proper name was. It had two steps leading down to a short sidewalk connected to our driveway and the porch itself was lined with black wrought iron rails. We would sit there just playing, launching a new enterprise (I had an idea once to collect and sell maple tree “helicopters” and sell tree seeds), feeding squirrels that dad had taught to take peanuts, or just enjoy some occasional watermelon. Now everyone knows the best part about watermelon and thus we come to the whole purpose of this posting… spitting watermelon seeds.

Every year our family, dad, mom, my younger brother, and I, would take a trip down to see my dad’s parents in Monroe, Tennessee just outside of Livingston in west Tennessee where all of our family is from for a week long visit which almost always guaranteed a watermelon snack. Grandpa always grew a large garden with just about anything you could think of and among them was our favorite… sugar baby watermelons. This variety is perfectly round and dark green in color so dark in fact that you can barely make out the stripes that watermelons typically have and, like a kids dream come true, they were dark red and always full of seeds. Sometimes they would be ready by the time we came down but others they would be almost ripe and a day or so into our visit he would go and pick the first one. Warm or cold it really didn’t matter as it was grandpa’s watermelon and it was sweet and just the thrill of watching him crack it open on the corner of the porch overshadowed all of that. As we slurped and munched naturally, boys being boys, we had to see how far we could spit the seeds. It makes for awesome memories now that I’m close to forty and we don’t make those trips anymore.

All of this came to my mind the other day as I was working in my department, I’m a produce manager by trade, and the local school was having a watermelon seed spitting contest and several parents came in asking if we carried seeded watermelons. Unfortunately we don’t so as I tried to empathize with them I apologized and when asked if I knew anyone who did carry them I honestly couldn’t think of anyone who did. It seems that in the early 2000’s seeded watermelons just began to become a thing of the past and got replaced by their genetically engineered cousins of the seedless variety. At first the taste wasn’t that great and the sweetness wasn’t there but after some work I personally have actually started to like them though I still prefer a seeded one. Which leads me to this big question… what are we going to do when there are no seeds to spit? You laugh I know but this question is a serious one to me and has had me thinking on it for the last three days. So many of my personal memories were surrounded by such activities and it bothers me to think that in a time when everyone is trying to make things more convenient and easier to use what are we sacrificing and what great fun and awesome memories are we missing out on?

To me summertime was made for kids jumping in creeks not knowing or caring what else was in there, running around bat nuts crazy without a care in the world, staying on a bike from sun rise to sun set, and of course spitting watermelon seeds either for distance or at each other. You see when we look for them even the slightest things in our daily lives can bring back great memories and before you know it you’re smiling thinking of a simpler time or even better yet it inspires your mind to wander and get creative. Life is short to let such simple things pass by without enjoying them even if all it is is spitting a watermelon seed.