Human Condition: Raiding the water melon patch _lowres


A beautiful full moon cast its glow over the open field, with its raised rows topped with the vines of watermelon plants.

Nestled among the large leaves lay hundreds of large ripening melons. This was a large sun-drenched field during the day, and the cool night air left dew on the bounty that was attached to the vines.

The field was on high ground near the shore of an impoundment in northeast Alabama. The farmer who had cultivated the soil and nurtured the vines probably was already asleep, resting up for the next day of work in the hot summer sun.

Into the field crept five young adults. The leader, Bubba, carried a flashlight he had not turned on. The moon’s glow provided enough light for the intruders to see their way to their intended goal. They whispered as they went, even though they were not within shouting distance of the landlord’s manor.

“How will we be able to tell which ones are ripe?” asked Janice, the only girl in the group and cousin to two of the boys. “That’s what the flashlight is for,” Bubba answered.

He then said the bottom of the melon needs to be yellow, not white, and the vine near the melon should be starting to turn brown.

“Also, we will thump them and listen for a solid ping sound,” Bubba instructed.

Janice, who had traveled with her mother from Norfolk, Virginia, was visiting her cousins Woody and Warren for the weekend. Bubba and the fifth member of the night squad, Kenny, were friends of Woody and Warren. They had showed up when they learned the attractive brunette with the big brown eyes was visiting.

Janice had told the young men that she always wanted to burst open a watermelon out in a field and eat it. Bubba and Kenny knew just the place to take her and were anxious to impress.

“That one looks like it is plenty big enough to be ready to eat,” Kenny pointed out.

Bubba shined the light on the melon, then rolled it over and started thumping on it. “It sounds good to me. Let’s cut this one from the vine and open it up.”

After moving the melon away from the leaves of the plant, Bubba cut it across the top from end to end and broke it open.

“Ladies first,” he said.

Janice didn’t hesitate, quickly sticking both hands into the center of one side of the melon and pulling out a chunk of the fruit. “It’s good but kind of warm,” she said, making way for the others to try some.

Each of the guys also ate some of the contraband watermelon.

“We’re not taking any with us because that would be stealing,” Bubba whispered.

Then the five trespassers slipped away from the field and back to the bright lights of the local Dairy Queen, where they could get some real food.

— Roberts lives in Baton Rouge

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