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The Year of the Watermelon, Part 2

Sometimes the things we desire come when we least expect them. And sometimes, they look a little different than we imagined them.

Folks, we have grown a watermelon at last, after five years.

And here it is:

A true teacup melon

The seeds we planted were for a Sugar Baby melon, advertised to fit perfectly in your fridge when mature, unlike larger varieties.

As promised, this watermelon fit very easily in our refrigerator.

The watermelon vine that I mentioned in my previous post, the one out of twenty that for some reason had not died, lingered on and produced blossoms. One day a tiny fruit appeared. It swelled to the size of a modest orange, but then strangely grew no larger for some time. It finally occurred to us that the melon was ripening. The telltale tendril, marker of ripeness in watermelons, had turned brown, just as it should.

It was 2020, the year of the watermelon - the year of our watermelon.

Emika used his brute strength to harvest the melon and carry it inside the house.

Judah also helped.

The glossy green skin was rinsed. I placed it on a cutting board and cut it open, holding my breath, wondering if after all this time, our single tiny melon would be unripe, wormy, or otherwise a failure.

But it was perfection. At least, to us. Others may have said it was a trifle overripe, a tad small.

We, however— we smelled and tasted the sugar-sweet fruits of our labor. We gloried in the teacup-sized proportions of our melon. We swore never to tell Trader Joe’s our secrets for growing “all heart” lunchbox-sized mini teacup watermelons (which would surely take artisanal grocery shopping by storm).

Teacup watermelon (lime for scale)

After we had ceased to look for it, it came: our long-desired homegrown melon.

Not quite what we imagined it would be.

But, in its own way, perhaps even better; a tiny watermelon vine that survived being half-destroyed in infancy, that escaped disease that claimed its neighboring plants, that was never much to look at: a small, short vine with small leaves, but one that quietly stayed alive— this watermelon finally did what none of our other “better, stronger” vines of previous years could do: it produced a ripe fruit. “It’s a testament to the power of life against seemingly impossible odds,” Emika said.


Last night, we sang a hymn at the piano with the chorus “and who believeth, Jesus said, shall live forevermore.”

Every day of 2020 the news seems worse than the last, with an uncontained pandemic, economic risks, racial inequalities which hit close to home, political tensions, and unprecedented natural disasters, all in one year. Earthly troubles, all knocking at our door.

Much less important, but closer to the details of everyday life which affect us in their own way, all this summer, we’ve been sharing a sedan and hoping to buy a minivan to replace our 16-year old model that keeps breaking down. We may not be able to fix the big problems around us, so sometimes we focus on at least remedying the problems that have attainable solutions. Small, earthly hopes.

But, singing this song filled me with wonder at what we have already: an eternal, transcendent hope.

“Isn’t this better than a minivan?” I asked Emika, turning around from the piano keys. “Living forevermore?”

As believers in Christ, we have a seed of eternal life within. However discouraging our outward circumstances may be, we must keep on watering that vine, just keep it alive, no matter how small it looks.

Like our little watermelon, one day that seed of life may surprise us with fruit.

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