Starting Point
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Issue Date:  July 14, 2006

Starting Point


I count watermelon as one of summer’s greatest delights. I once knew a student who could make a meal out of it. He would lop a melon in half and dig in with a spoon, spitting seeds as he went. I always knew when he was through eating, because he’d let out a big burp. He would sit there then, a big grin on his face, the ruins of his pleasure all about him. I often wondered if his mother ever saw him this way.

Watermelon, of course, is meant to be eaten outside. It’s just too messy for the common kitchen and its consumption and aftermath way too rambunctious for the formal dining room.

Maybe it’s watermelon’s sweet taste enjoyed in the sunshine and shade of a great summer afternoon that make it the epitome of this time of year. Or, maybe it’s the bright and bold colors, which make no apologies for the bounty of the earth, that lodges watermelon in our memories as the signal food of summer. Or, just maybe, it is our sloppy and prodigious consumption of this fruit in such carefree and childlike abandon that sinks into our souls and reminds us that God meant for us to live in paradise and never wants us to forget it.

Fr. George R. Szews is pastor of the Newman Parish in Eau Claire, Wis.

National Catholic Reporter, July 14, 2006

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