A Minute to Myself (187)
Meet the Neighbors

The Best Watermelon, Ever

Now that it’s hot my mind looks back on the time when I lived in Israel. It’s no surprise that heat does that to me, since it was very hot over there half of the year, while the other half was a fall/spring combo that never required a lining in a raincoat. The one thing that I love about the summer on the East Coast is that there are these marvelous, refreshing rains every once in a while and even if the rains are warm, they’re still a break from the relentless shine of the sun. Israel has a dry season and a rainy season, which correspond to the summer and fall/spring combo. I remember telling a friend on the kibbutz where I was living that I didn’t get why it wasn’t raining in the summer, that we needed a break. He looked at me and explained, as to a child, that not every place in the world has four seasons and not every place in the world has rain in the summer. Oh well, wasn’t I chastised from thinking that I was worldly since I came from New York City but in fact knew so little of other ways and places.

On one standard hot day I was assigned to work in the watermelon field. In the way that people always have something bad to say about everything, I was told that it was going to be horrible, that it would be hot and it would be back-breaking since I would need to be bending down all the time. But in the way that my optimism always outshines reality, I was excited to work at something new. Tempt me with the new, with an adventure, and I will sign up.

Our job (if I remember this correctly, since it was 27 years ago) was to pick the ripe melons and bring them to a truck on the side of the field. The negative-speakers were right, it was hot and it was hard. But that all dissipated when the crew leader told us that it was break time. In my life, I have never had as wonderful a break as this.

He took one of the watermelons, threw it down on a rock which split it in half. Those who had experience with watermelon field break-time knelt down and scooped up a hunk of red, dripping, watermelon with their field-dusted hands. The juice trickled down their arms and their faces. Another watermelon was sacrificed on the rock. My reticence over touching a watermelon with my hand (I was a knife and fork eater) which happened not to be clean was overcome in the “go with the flow” feeling that overcame all teachings from home when tempted enough.

In I went, scooping up my own hunk of melon. And in my teeth sank, more like melted, into the redness that was as ripe as ripe could be before souring into overripe. Surprisingly, the melon was cool, as if the hard shell protected the melon from predators and climate. It tasted red, and it tasted cool, and it tasted like a summer day that had been spent in a marvelously lazy way. It was amazingly crunchy and full of sweetish juice, but not too sweet, as sweet as a kiss before the tongue gets involved. I didn’t taste the dirt on my hands, but I did taste the moisture of experience in the guise of the best watermelon, ever. 

I never worked in the watermelon field again, probably because it was a small field and it didn't take long to pick all of the melons. But that memory, that moment, that taste has become quintessential to me, of me. Am I the melon or the melon-eater? Maybe I am both.

Do you have a moment that you look on as quintessentially you?


Bonnie Krauss

I can't think of such a moment, but I loved reading about your watermelon experience, and it reminded me of the 4 weeks I lived in a kibbutz in Israel when I was 16. Our kibbutz sold dairy products, including 3 kinds of milk in plastic containers that you would stick a straw through - regular, chocolate and mocha. And oh, that mocha was divine. The work I remember consisted of 6 of us, 3 on each side of a conveyor belt - someone would dump a bunch of onions on the belt, and rocks were combined with the onions, and we had to sit there for 6 hours and toss out the onions. It was like an episode of I Love Lucy.


I am not sure that I have such a moment, but i will be looking forward to maybe making one of these for me very soon.


What a wonderful story. I can imagine the hot summer and the relief provided by the fruit.

I do not have any moments I can recall but others seem to.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

Bonnie, could you imagine the tears she would have been shedding if she would have had to eat the onions? A plastic bags of chocolate milk and a small roll is the standard school kid's breakfast in Israel.

MTAE, don't forget to scoop with dirty hands. Translation: no hesitations when it's experience time.

Ricardo, the time to create memories is every moment of our lives.


Watermelons, for me, always take me back to my childhood. They were a rare treat. My dad would bring one home, very large, and would cut really large slices for us all. Usually we'd eat them on or around the 4th of July, so it was a festive experience. So watermelons have a good association for me.

A moment that is quintessentially me? It's funny, but like Bonnie, my experience also felt like an I Love Lucy episode. Long story short, it involved my husband and me in the kitchen with flour everywhere (we were attempting an old family recipe and things had gone a bit awry). The end result turned out to be pretty good notwithstanding the kitchen disaster.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

JC, my mother never bought a whole watermelon, it was always a quarter. I don't know why, I don't think they were expensive then.

Flour, flour everywhere. If it involves your husband, than that is surely a wonderful thing. Mine, of course, is me alone.


One of my favorite memories also occurred in Israel, yet , unfortunately with a habit that I have given up. Still it was quintessentially me. I loved visiting Israel with my ex. They were truly the best times in my marriage on a variety of levels. Still his crazy apt was overwhelming, but they lived right under the roof. The roof was where I went to smoke, and while indulging in an old favorite habit, I could see the whole city of Tel Aviv and beyond. Day or night, it was beautiful. I truly felt -od there. I miss it so much, but wonder if I could go there and not absolutely crave that cigarette:)


Yes, my moment was in the hey-day of the summer before my senior year in high school. I was spending the summer in Utah at the four-corners area on the Navajo reservation. I worked at a lodge with a girlfriend who came with me from North Dakota. We met many great people there and had wonderful experiences learning what life on the "rezz" was like for the northern Navajo people.

I recall when we had played softball on our hot summer day and later celebrated on the red sandstone mesas at night. The black night sky was scattered with electric dots of light so bright and clear, it was surreal. I could almost touch the stars. We sat on the rocks and laughed, drank our 3-2 beer that only Utah residents could buy and had a bonfire. Many great memories started then and my quintessential me is the 17 year old learning about life away from my own people with people who were happy and interesting and definitively not the stereotypical "Indians" of the movies and books. Our lives had commonalities and I learned how we are all the same inside. The outside really makes no difference.

Thanks for writing this. Your watermelon story reminded me of my many years living with and among a wonderful tribe of people.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

Peggy, and thanks for sharing your beer story. It's wonderful sometimes to got back to earlier us's, before there is too much cyncism and pain. Hold onto this moment.

coach handbags

Awesome article! Paints nice pictures – I think I will come here next time, it is really good!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)