When I was growing up, my grandpa was known as the “Melon Man”. Every year, around August and September, he loaded his pickup truck with watermelon and cantaloupe (known only as “musk melon” to us) and headed for the nearest highway to sell them.
I guess you could say that he was a melon expert. From an early age, I was tutored on the proper “thump” technique to check for perfect ripeness.
I loved that my birthday was in September, because I knew we would always be blessed with the ice cold sweet treat during our family celebration. My dad would lob us off a 1/2 slice and we would eat it utensil-free, by plunging our eager mouths into the refreshing pink center. Since the parties were held outside, it was tradition to spit the seeds in the yard. (There were several times when I accidentally swallowed a seed and they all had me convinced that a watermelon would grow in my belly!) Some preferred to adorn their watermelon with salt and/or pepper. I preferred mine in its natural, unseasoned splendor. When we were done eating, our entire faces, from chin to bangs, would be sticky from all the juice.
As I got older, “Gramps” would send melons with me when I left for college in the fall. Admittedly, it was there that I discovered the technique of turning them into the perfect libation!
While this particular cocktail contains melon and ginger beer, I’d like to think that it contains a little bit of Gramps as well.