On his way out the door to the grocery store, I asked my husband to pick up a watermelon.
“Bring home a good one,” I said.
A “good” watermelon is sweet and red. Gary knows how to find one. I taught him what my brother Gerald taught me. Look for battle scars on its rind and a large patch of yellow on its bottom. Then, rap it with you knuckles, and listen for a hollow sound.
Before dinner that evening, I grabbed a giant knife and headed for the round green-striped melon on the kitchen counter. I pushed the blade into fruit’s middle and edged it down and around its circumference.
It is at this point in my relationship with a watermelon that I always hold my breath. Gary’s selection skills aside, one is never 100% certain what the first cut will reveal. Will the inside be juicy and red or a “not quite ready” whitish-pink? Worse, will the watermelon that looked perfect on the outside be full of mushy crimson and brown flesh on the inside?
The two halves fell away and…and…and I saw not a hint of red, white, or brown. Yellow. The inside of my juicy red watermelon was yellow. My eyes darted from the fruit to my husband, back to the fruit, and again to my husband.
“Something is wrong with this watermelon,” I said. “It’s yellow.”
“What?” said Gary. He leaned over my shoulder for a closer look, and said, “It’s yellow.”
“That’s what I said.”
My surprise only confirmed my belief that a person is never too old to learn something new. Until that moment, I had never—as in ever—seen a yellow watermelon. Until we googled “yellow watermelon,” I thought the fruit in front of me was a freak of nature.
Go ahead. Laugh. But I am not embarrassed at my ignorance in this matter. I don’t claim to be a gardener—flower or vegetable. I’m far from either. I enjoy the beauty of the former and the bounty of the latter and appreciate those who make both possible. But a gardener in any sense of the word, I am not.
That my husband—the intelligent one in this family—had never seen a yellow watermelon, restored my confidence a tad. Google assured us, though, that “the flesh of watermelons turning yellow is a natural mutation…. The fruit has a sweeter, honey-like flavor as compared to red-fleshed melons, but many of the same nutritional benefits.”
I’m not so far off the garden path that I’m unaware of the many fruits and vegetables that come in assorted colors. The list includes peaches, tomatoes, kiwi, grapefruit, bell peppers, and more.
How did the existence of yellow watermelons escape a fruit-loving girl like me? I called my mother. It’s what I do when I think she failed to teach me an important fact.
“I cut open a watermelon, and it’s yellow!” I said.
After laughing two full minutes without taking a breath, Mom said, “I’ve heard of yellow watermelons.” But she had never tasted one, which played a big part in why the yellow watermelon and I had never been introduced.
With my mind still intact, I handed the first slice to Gary. You can choose to believe my gesture was one of love and generosity. But Google or no, I wasn’t going to be the first to taste that odd-colored fruit.
“It’s good,” declared my husband. “Sweet, just like we read.”
I picked up a slice and attempted to adjust my taste buds to accept red flavor in a yellow watermelon.
“What do you think?” asked Gary.
“It’s good,” I said. “As long as I close my eyes before I take a bite, I’ll be just fine.”
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