Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What's green on the outside and red inside?

If you are a St. Louis native, you probably recognize the name Ted Drewes. His business is an established icon in South St. Louis. People stand in lines twenty deep at a dozen or more windows  to buy ice cream (frozen custard) on hot summer nights. To think, all those years when I was a teenager
I avoided it because I thought it would taste like that egg-yolk custard pie my parents bought.

There's another name that you might recognize, Sam the Watermelon Man. He had a watermelon stand on Natural Bridge in North St. Louis when I was a kid. He hung a string of bare light bulbs that auto dealers used to have on their lots. He sliced those oversized oval shaped melons into eighths and sold them 50 cents a slice to families who sat at old wooden picnic tables. That was the sweetest, ice cold  watermelon. Kids would spit the seeds onto tin pans. When my kids were small he opened a stand near us in South city, and we would take our children there on hot summer nights.

Sam the Watermelon Man was famous. Bob and Dororthy Hope would drive to St. Louis, load up their car with watermelons from Sam's and drive back out West.

These days watermelons don't even have black seeds. But when they did, I used to serve chunks to my summer camp school age kids. I taught them this song to the tune of Frere Jacques:  Watermelon-watermelon how it drips, how it drips, up and down your elbows (fingers dancing up and down arms) up and down your elbows, SPIT OUT THE PITS! SPIT OUT THE PITS! spitooie!
Then of course we had to ... have a watermelon seed spitting contest. Those days were fun.

My hubby and I have been eating one, and sometimes two watermelons a week. Well, it's better for us than ice cream, and oh so delicious. Do you like watermelon? The backyard birds sure do.

13 comments:

Bookie said...

Love watermelon! But have not had one yet this year. I am behind I guess. Had fresh blueberries though...watermelon will surely be next!

Susan said...

Oh yeah, Linda. I love watermelon. When it's icy cold, that's when it's best. Cute song you had your kiddies sing! Susan

Sioux said...

I am weird that way (and many other ways, as well). I have never liked the flavor of watermelon, and the fact that you can squeeze a chunk in your hand and it disappears in a drippy mess...not appealing to me.

But I realize I am in a tiny minority...

Joanne said...

I, too, have never liked watermelon. Fortunately I am the only one in the family who takes a pass, so summer picnics with watermelon still go on around me at our house.

Tammy said...

What a sweet and nostalgic post. Just think: even watermelon seeds will soon be forgotten! As long as watermelon itself isn't, I guess I can handle that.

Chatty Crone said...

I love watermelon - but I don't like all the genetically engineered types - I like it just like it is. Sandie

Val said...

I love watermelon. Haven't had one yet this year, but I carved open a delicious cantaloupe last night. Our chickens and goats love the remains of it, as well as watermelons.

My mom puts salt on her watermelon. Is that common, or just a hillbilly thing?

Carol said...

A good watermelon is good! Great summertime feasting!

K9friend said...

I love ripe, ice cold watermelon. Some people salt theirs, but me, I'm a purist.

Pat
Critter Alley

Kim said...

I was eyeing the watermelon today at the store. But since I'm the only person in the house who will eat it, it seems sort of silly to buy one just for me.

I guess I need that Sam guy!

Lynn said...

Mmmm, my favorite, but is it in season? Nothing more disappointing than having your heart set on one and it stinks.

Gerry Mandel said...

You mentioned a magic name from my past, Linda. Sam the Watermelon Man. Funny, but I was thinking about him just the other day as I pulled out the long knife and sliced into a new watermelon. I started to write a longer response, but you've inspired me to write a post on my blog about it. I'll give you credit. Just save me a slice.

Mike F said...

I remember Sam The Watermelon Man. It was just as you said they where the long watermelons and we would buy them buy the quater cut long ways and he always had salt shakers at all the tables .That must have been 43 years ago I dont remember when he shut down.Those where the good old days