|Photo by: Andy Melton|
Last Friday one of my Creative Writers, Alex, gave me a watermelon. He also gave me a watermelon serving tray. THANK YOU, ALEX!
Alex inspired me to share one of my favorite MUSES! You’ll never guess what it is…
Cue the Choir in the loft, please…
Watermelons are FESTIVE! They are MAGICAL! They are COLORFUL! They are TASTY! And they happen to be my NAMESAKE!
My fascination with watermelons started a very long time ago in Indianapolis, Indiana. My grandfather let me help plan the family garden. Grandpa showed me where he was going to plant the tomatoes, string beans, peppers, beets, and other vegetables. When we got to the back of the garden, he told me that I could plant whatever I wanted. It didn’t take me long to decide on THREE things…
We planted a row of popcorn. We planted 8 hills of pumpkins and 8 hills of watermelons. (A “hill” is a gardening term. It is when you mound the dirt into a small hill and plant three seeds in a small triangle at the top. This method is often used for vining plants, like watermelons and cucumbers.)
All summer I watered, weeded and WATCHED my garden grow. And when I saw the tiny swelling of a baby watermelon behind a bloom, I was CAPTIVATED. When the blooms fell off, and the watermelons grew bigger and bigger, I was ENTRANCED!
|Photo by: Harsha K.R.|
At the end of the summer, Grandpa and I harvested our first watermelon. We took it inside the house and grandma taught me how to cut it open. As soon as I saw the BRIGHT red center, speckled with black seeds, I was EXTATIC!
When Grandma handed me a wedge of that beautiful fruit, I sank my teeth into it and was transported to WATERMELON HEAVEN!
I HAD FOUND MY FIRST MUSE!
At that point I wanted to know everything there was to know about WATERMELONS. And now, I will share what I know with YOU!
Watermelons have a RICH history. The first recorded watermelon harvest was 5000 years ago in Egypt. Yes, EGYPT! Archeologists found paintings of watermelons on the walls of ancient Egyptian buildings. It is believed that watermelons were placed in the tombs of the Pharaohs when they died.
By the 10th century, watermelons were being grown in China, which is still the largest grower of watermelons in the world.
By the 13th century, watermelons were being grown in Europe.
And by the 1600’s, watermelons were being grown in America. It is believed that African slaves brought watermelon seeds with them from Africa.
Today, the United States is ranked 4th in the worldwide production of watermelons.
And watermelons area a huge SLICE of American culture! In fact, many regions have watermelon festivals. Take a look at this watermelon festival in Lulling, Texas.
Did you see the Watermelon Water Tower? How about the Watermelon Queen? Who would like to participate in the Watermelon Eating Contest or Seed Spitting Contest? Me! Me! Me!
Take a look at this video to learn how to spit watermelon seeds!
Not only are watermelons festive and fun, they are also very nutritious! They are chocked full of vitamins and minerals, and they keep your body hydrated on hot summer days. Why? Because they are 92% water! Maybe that is why they are called… WATERMELONS!
Like I mentioned before, I am CRAZY about watermelons, but this cat might have even ME beat.
I can’t end this MUSE without sharing the world’s largest watermelon. Lloyd Bright of Arkadelphia, Arkansas holds this record for growing a 268.8 pound watermelon in 2005.
Here’s another quick fact: Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.
Photo by: Le Mai
Okay, one more: The rind of the watermelon is often pickled. Maybe this is because watermelons are the cucumber’s cousin.
Here’s one for the road: There are hundreds of watermelon varieties, but there are five common types: Seeded, Seedless, Mini, Yellow, and Orange.
With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these WHAT IF questions will help you get started.
WHAT IF there was a PLANET WATERMELON?
WHAT IF the seeds of the watermelon were creatures and they turned their watermelon into a SPACESHIP?
WHAT IF your main character lived on a watermelon farm? What if he/she grew a watermelon that would not stop growing?
The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.
So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.
The word of the day is “canteen”. Here is the definition: a small container used especially by soldiers and hikers for carrying water or other liquids.