Column, Southern Thing Column

This is the right way to eat watermelon

Below is an excerpt from last week’s column for It’s a Southern Thing. Click here to read the full column now, or click the link at the end of the excerpt.

For those of you who aren’t from around these parts, or who didn’t receive the instruction book when you were born, there is a right way and a wrong way to eat watermelon.

It didn’t occur to me that anyone might not know this simple fact until a few years ago when I met my husband Sweetums and learned he had not taught his two boys the proper way to eat watermelon. Well, love me tender and call me Elvis. This life lesson is on the list right after wearing clean underwear in case you’re in a wreck.

That morning, we’d stopped at a produce stand to get a watermelon that wasn’t “fake news,” by which I mean you didn’t cut it open only to find out someone had stolen all the seeds. (Real watermelons have seeds, y’all, because God wanted us to have something fairly harmless to spit on our siblings.)

I suggested to Sweetums that we cut the melon and take the slices onto the deck so we didn’t get juice everywhere. And that’s when he told me. If we hadn’t already planned the wedding I might have called the whole thing off. He said … the memory gives me chills, y’all … he said … he and his boys always cut the melon into cubes and ate it with a fork.

At this point, I knew I had to ask the difficult question: Did he, or did he not, eat salt on his watermelon? I couldn’t spend the rest of my life with a man who ate his watermelon with a fork and without salt. I mean, could I?

That’s when Sweetums said, “Who puts salt on watermelon?” The floor was too hard for fainting, so I breathed into a paper bag until the buzzing in my head subsided. Although Sweetums had told me he was born in Guntersville, Ala., I had my suspicions – I couldn’t imagine how anyone in the whole of Alabama could grow up to eat watermelon with a fork. Click here to read the full column on It’s a Southern Thing.

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