I should have written this post a few weeks ago when it was still summer and my Proustian moment was fresh in my mind. But other things intervened, so please forgive me for being somewhat out of season.
Already you might be asking, what does watermelon have to do with anything?
Well, a few weeks ago, I bought a small round watermelon from a local farm stand. When I cut it open, I was surprised to see that it was the old variety with black seeds. My heart jumped with joy. (Sorry…slight exaggeration.) In my neck of the woods, it is nearly impossible to find watermelon with seeds.
With great anticipation, I cut it open and took a bite, and sure enough, the flavor was crisp and sweet, unlike seedless watermelon, whose taste I can only describe as “anemic.” As I relished the sight of the bright color (not the pale pink of seedless watermelons), I was transported back to summers before anything serious had happened to me.
It wasn’t even that long ago. I could picture sitting outside with my children, everyone spitting seeds onto the grass, juice dripping down our chins. And of course I could see myself doing it as a kid, having contests with the other kids to see who could spit the seed further. Sure it was messy, but it was fun.
Seedless watermelons, of course, aren’t exactly seedless. I read that those white seeds are just seed coats and would never develop into a mature watermelon. They are, in fact, edible. One thing they aren’t is good for spitting onto the grass.
Seedless watermelon has been marketed widely since the 1980s, although it was developed years earlier. I’m all for modern conveniences, so I might sound kind of hypocritical here. After all, I eat seedless grapes and use self-adhesive stamps and envelopes.
But they’ve done a good job making seedless grapes, and I doubt that many people associate good memories with grape seeds.
And as for licking envelopes, everyone familiar with a famous "Seinfeld" episode knows that if the glue is cheap, licking envelopes can kill you.