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The Observer, Aug. 27 

Not long ago, the Observer awoke to the sweet aroma of fresh-squeezed juice. But after stumbling into the kitchen, we found not fresh-squeezed, but fresh-spewed.

A watermelon, not a week past purchase, left intact on the kitchen floor the night before, now sat deflated — like a punctured football — and disemboweled, its contents spread the length of the kitchen.

In retrospect, it seems kind of dumb that at the time we were more interested in cleaning up the sticky goo than trying to figure out why a watermelon vomited all over our kitchen. But we were hungry, more interested in breakfast than the vagaries of watermelon.

We did, however, take a picture, and later e-mailed it to the expert in all things domestic, our grandmother.

Though the nature of her correspondence is always inquisitive, we found ourselves pulling our hair and hollering at the line of questioning she sent us in reply to this particular issue: “When and where did you purchase the watermelon? Were there any knife cuts in the watermelon when you bought it? Did you hear any noise during the night? A time bomb or firecrackers, etc.? Were any windows or doors open? Did you leave the watermelon on a cabinet or the floor? The picture shows a dent on the left side of the melon indicating weight pressure on that side. What made that dent? It appears something ate and scattered the melon all across the floor. Have you heard noises in the night on your roof and foundation to check around to see if an animal could have a route into the house? Did you have a storm at your house with lightning? That could happen.”

But she was just messing with us. Her note ended, “But I made a web search and the answer was it was too ripe and loaded with gas from being too hot for too long.”

Practical joker, web surfer, mystery solver — that's our granny. She's crafty.

 

What you don't want to do under any circumstances is forget that you have a watermelon. The Observer, one hot Arkansas summer past, bought a watermelon for a picnic and threw it in the trunk of the car. The picnic involved so much smoking of pig and drinking of beer that dessert was forgotten. Until about a month later. July, hot trunk, watermelon: Cleaning it up was no picnic. Cleaning it all the way up proved impossible. Sweet rot clings to upholstery like barbecue to the front of a shirt, like beer to breath, like hot on July.

 

But last weekend — could it really have been August? Mornings in the 60s? Everybody got up Saturday morning and walked the dog, mowed the grass, rode their bikes, not necessarily in that order.

Our neighbor, out for a stroll, said it's a good thing it's not like that every August. Too many people would move to Arkansas.

 

The Observer, like a lot of folks, has been sucked into the swirling whirlwind that is the social networking site known as Facebook. In the past month or two since somebody finally convinced us to give it a try, we've connected with all sorts of people from our past: friends, old friends, old enemies-turned-friends, elementary school chums, long-lost relatives, even a minor celebrity or two. For an ardent people-watcher like Yours Truly, it's kind of a sociological extravaganza, not to mention some great entertainment.

The other day, for example, a friend of ours who is a recent transplant from Up Nawth was marveling via Facebook that chivalry ain't dead down here in Arkansas. Just that morning, she wrote, two completely separate cowboy-behatted men had offered to assist her while she was pumping gas up near Conway. One even offered to clean her windshield with that squeegee they keep in a bucket by the pumps. Our friend, it should be noted, is a rather comely lass, long of leg and bright of smile.

With our drawl as thick as possible, The Virtual Observer explained to our friend that the offers of gentlemanly assistance and Southern hospitality probably had nothing to do with making sure she didn't get Hi-Test on her driving gloves. As we told her: We're nice down here, but we ain't scrape-the-dead-bugs-off-your-windshield nice.

Trust us on this. The Observer was facebooking before there was a Facebook to facebook on. 

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