Lessons from Choosing a Watermelon
There is nothing better for a summer supper than a great watermelon!
The informal start of summer means that big bins of watermelons have returned to grocery stores and can also be found at farmer’s markets. And, invariably, there will be someone standing there looking a bit perplexed about which one to choose. Oftentimes this person is acting on behalf of a spouse or family, and a heavy responsibility weighs on them to select one that is ripe and sweet. Once in a while you might see a tolerant and responsible-looking adult giving instruction to a curious child who is quite willing to thump away on prospective selections—and then struggles to carry this heaviest of fruits to the shopping cart.
Observing these behaviors got me thinking about how friendships and selecting a good watermelon have some things in common.
The experts say we should look for a watermelon that hasn’t been picked too soon—one that has been allowed to ripen on the vine. (A good indication of this is the yellow spot on one side where it lay in the field.) Like watermelon, good friendships take a while to develop—and the sweetest ones have been given a chance to mature a bit. Relationships that sweeten over time are the ones we cherish the most.
Thumping a watermelon is an inexact science because each one sounds a little different—but at least you get some response you can think about. Good friendships work when there is interaction. (Not thumping! Don’t get me wrong!) Good friendships are all about feedback, give and take, conversation. A friendship that is one-sided never really deepens much.
The best watermelons are heavy, not light. And the best friendships—well, they are able to take on a bit of water. They get weighted down with shared experiences, common interests, and events and happenings (good and bad) that give them substance.
The outside of a good watermelon probably shows some wear— little brown lines or white scars where bees were trying to get inside it. That’s an indication of sweetness and maturity. The best friendships are predicated on what is on the inside, because that’s where the sweetness is. Real friends don’t even notice our lines and scars; they look inside and see us as we really are.
There is actually something better than a great watermelon: sharing it with friends. A perfect reminder that life can be oh so sweet!