The Slice: In fruitless pursuit of lost melons of youth

FRIDAY, MAY 23, 2014

Many of us, back when we were about 6 years old, tasted a watermelon that was astonishingly good.

The sweet flavor was so remarkable we all but turned into burrowing animals in order to harvest every possible bite.

When we came up for air, our faces wet and sticky, we were changed people. Sometimes big black seeds or little white ones appeared glued to our juice-slathered cheeks. But needing to be hosed off was a small price for that first watermelon high.


Then we spend the rest of our lives fruitlessly seeking to duplicate that transcendent experience.

No matter how many melons we try, they always come up short. Why?

Perhaps one of these theories can help explain it. Or perhaps you have one of your own.

• Fallout from nuclear testing added to the flavor.

• Your family lived near the Watermelon Belt when you were a child.

• That first melon was sampled on a vacation far from Spokane.

• In 2014, no one uses a machete to open a watermelon.

• You sniff and thump the melon and press your thumb against the stem end, but you don’t really know what you are doing.

• There was something mystical about the produce of our childhoods.

• Most melons today are picked long before they are ripe and then shipped great distances.

• That mind-blowing melon from so long ago came from a Brigadoon-like patch.

• It’s not the same because many of the people with whom you shared that first melon are no longer around.

• As you get older, summer becomes a season and not a prolonged magic spell.

Slice answer: “Many years ago, my wife Mickey and I realized that we were being targeted by hidden consumer cameras, because we would find a product we liked and really enjoy it, then two weeks later they quit making it,” wrote Scott Walker.

Name game: “Our last name is McCoy,” wrote Cathy McCoy. “We get asked if we are the ‘real McCoys,’ like people think we have never heard that before. Once, my husband received mail addressed to Mr. McToy. I still call him that.”

Today’s Slice question: What do deer like best in your garden?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. The squirt-gun arms race has left some of us behind.

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