Preparing for the Fourth of July.
Friday we were up early. I had a cup of coffee in hand. We headed towards Smith County. Sue wanted to beat the rush. I had business back in town. Sue wanted Smith County water melons. I was the driver. She thinks all the melons on sale in Lincoln County are from Florida or Mexico.
I think she’s wrong, but let’s not argue with the wife.
Some people say there is no better water melon in the world. Argue all you want, it’s just a fact. Sweeter, juicier, redder or greener. I don’t know. The county agents around here will tell you, a Smith County Water Melon is head and shoulders above any other melon out there. Old men in bib overalls, sitting on the tailgates of trucks say the same.
At the first stop, they had Simpson County Melons. Good, but not great. I’m thinking, ‘is this for real?’
We drove on, deep into Smith County.
The roadside sign said Shady Tree Produce. It’s a farm house, with a circle driveway. Plus a couple of out buildings and a melon shed. There’s a lot of old, rusty farm equipment. Crops and fenced pastures in the back. They could use the place for a movie set.
A young kid greeted us. He is Brandon. He said he was twenty five. He had the baseball cap, dirty jeans, muddy boots, a T-shirt from somewhere and some chewing tobacco under his lip. Central Casting.
Brandon had about a million water melons behind him. His Grandpa was growing melons before Brandon was born. I only wanted to buy four or five. It was mid-morning, Brandon and his Grandpa had just returned from the fields. The mud on the melons was still wet. Fresh.
They had small melons, medium sized and some giants melons on the back of their truck. I couldn’t pick up the giant melons, so I bought Sue some smaller ones.
I was ready to go. Sue was still looking. They had tomatoes and green peppers for sell in the shed. Brandon wanted me to buy more than a few melons.
Brandon said he’s partnered up with his Grandfather. They are trying to make a living. Grandpa drove a truck for thirty years, farmed on the side He quit the trucking business. Retired, so to speak.
Brandon doesn’t want to drive a truck. They shook hands on a deal. Grandpa will teach, Brandon will learn. The market will support the two of them. They lost all their field peas and two acres of melons to the rain and floods this year. It’s going to be rougher than he thought. He’s learning.
A tough row to hoe, I started to say. But, he has heard that before.
There was an American Flag hanging off the side of Grandpa’s barn, another in front of Brandon’s house.
God bless the American spirit.
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