Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

August 31, 2017 Oh happy days; it’s “Melon Time” again
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

The last time I was in a restaurant and ordered watermelon as a dessert I was upset because it was served to me arranged neatly on a china salad plate; and, of course, as listed on the menu, “crispy chilled.”

I don’t like my melon crispy chilled; I don’t want it anywhere’s near being cold. I wanted it warm and soft and even “gushy” as the summer sun made it before it was being grasped between my fingers for the first big juicy, dribbly, bite.

That’s how I grew up liking it. We had these big wood and metal boxes back in the ancient years of my childhood; stocked with large blocks of ice they could cool things such as milk and butter (and sometimes pop and beer); but, we never thought of crowding in chunks of watermelon or muskmelon (‘mush’ melon) the latter now described most places as being cantaloupe. When and why did that happen? I mean WHAAAT?

The best melons ever were the ones we kids rescued from the patches, sometimes from over at the neighbor’s place, after dark; so no one would worry about us disturbing the vines in the hot daytime sun…that was our usual explanation if questioned. It sounded good to us. However, there was one time we had a really hard time explaining the why-for of a sudden tumultuous squawking from a chicken as we were leaving the patch behind the neighbor’s chicken house. It was only then we discovered one of us had found a sleeping hen in the patch and decided to add it to our bounty. We quickly nixed the idea of a spontaneous campfire picnic, but the hen--more ready than we, began to complain loudly and continuously all the way back to the coop, or wherever was the farthest away from our clutch. The result, as if being described these days, was: We were ‘busted.’ Later, some of us overhead our elders talking and laughing about the incident, so it wasn’t too long until we were back ‘rescuing’ melons; just being decidedly more cautious (especially not to disturb anything that might not like to be disturbed after dark.)

During our annual family reunions, usually in August, the subject of melons and the best places to get them (in the daytime) usually took us to the country sides near Muscatine, Iowa, where we knew we could find a lot of good choices. Each family, without a lot of discussion of the plans to follow, would take off at different times of the day, and return with varying amounts of melons loaded in the cars, the kids riding ‘shotgun’ on their rolling treasures. For a few days we would celebrate being in ‘melon heaven’ until finally the thrill settled down to our wondering what to do with all the slowly ‘melting down’ extras heaped about.

They usually found their way to the chicken pens, and hog lots.

And, there were always the happy memories of the next time, with no amount of worry remaining about the sticky hands and feet, and upset tummies. It was, of course, something to be expected in ‘Melon Time.”

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