Thursday, September 11, 2014
It has been a wonderful summer
I just polished off a Smith County watermelon. My summer is now complete.
I have Bubbie Windham, a security guard at River Hills, to thank for this. Bubbie greets me warmly every time I show up in the parking lot, rushing to make it to a tennis match.
Bubbie grew up in Taylorsville with my wife Ginny and that makes us buddies. He brought me a watermelon. That’s the way it works in Mississippi. I love this state.
The watermelon was beyond delicious. It was perfection. Watermelons are mystical creations to me. Just dirt, sun and rain and you get perfection. Surely the watermelon comes from the Garden of Eden.
I am always amazed at how long it takes to polish one off. Huge slice after huge slice of succulent sweetness, night after night, It never lost its perfect flavor and texture.
Watermelon comes from southern Africa and is a simple flowering vine. Over the years, we have run hundreds of photos of gargantuan watermelons in small-town newspapers throughout Mississippi.
Got an enormous watermelon? Bring it in to the paper and let us run a picture of it. Now that’s community journalism!
Watermelon is six percent sugar and the rest water. It has lots of vitamin C and research indicates watermelons lower blood pressure. Why am I not surprised?
I shared the first slices with Ginny and my cousin Brittany Hardy who is a sophomore at Millsaps. This year Brittany’s sister Kendall will be joining her at Millsaps as a freshmen. These San Antonio Emmerichs cannot resist the call to come back to their native state.
Their grandmother Fae Hardy was born an Emmerich in McComb, the older sister of my father John Emmerich. Aunt Fae is a graduate of Millsaps.
Brittany and Kendall are so smart and charming. It’s great to have them here in Jackson. I encourage them to crash at our place any time they want a home-cooked meal and a respite from dorm life.
I have one condition: They have to tell everybody they are my daughters. I need the bump up in my social standing.
Watermelons were cultivated in the Nile Valley 3,000 years ago. The Bible mentions them as a food eaten by the ancient Israelites while they were in bondage in Egypt.
By the 10th century A.D., watermelons were being cultivated in China, which is by far the largest producer of watermelons in the world, 70 million tons a year.
My other summer culinary ritual involves having the perfect home-grown tomato sandwich for lunch. I was not disappointed this summer.
Toasted bread, lots of mayo, salt and pepper and a thick slice of a fresh home-grown tomato. Like the watermelon, this is Mississippi summertime perfection.
As an added treat, my neighbor Anna Segrest brought me some orange cherry tomatos she grew in her garden for my birthday. That’s the way it works in Mississippi. I love this state!
Why are homegrown vegetables so much better than store bought? I have never gotten an answer to this mystery.
Now we have the dog days of summer. I recall that my father told me this was his favorite time of year. I thought that rather odd when I was young, given the heat, but now I am starting to understand.
We’ve all heard about global warming, but temperatures for the southeastern United States have bucked that trend. In fact, the global warming maps show this area has experienced below normal temperatures for the last decade.
After our very cold winter and cool spring, I was certain the summer would be a scorcher. The law of averages. Regression to the mean. But I was wrong.
In fact, this has been one of the coolest, most pleasant summers I can ever recall. We have yet to have one of those typical 100-degree, two-week hot spells.
Now I’ve probably jinxed us. No matter, it has been a wonderful summer which will be followed by a wonderfully perfect fall.
Did I mention that I love this state?
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