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Bonni Brodnick Headshot

Don't Get Personal

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Summertime. The hummingbirds are crashing into one another at the feeder. The mosquitoes are ambushing you after sunset and it's hard to tell whether other bites are from nits or gnats. Sun lotion burns your eyes. Your hair is at crackling point when the humidity is high. The cicadas sound like fettered rattlesnakes and, by August, we've all O.D.'d on weeding.

Through it all, my garden (from far away) looks like I actually know what I'm doing. (Okay ... you have to squint a little to get the full impact of its magnificence.) The perennial bed is prolific and while the vegetables look meh, the carrots pack a punch. The roses are as bountiful as they are beautiful and friends delight in nosegays created from my sumptuous blooms. City friends, who may not know that mint is a weed, are thrilled when I give them a big handful of sprigs for their iced tea and mojitos.

And while fruits, flowers and even certain weeds are meant for sharing, there is one crop that stands apart.

On a recent trip to the supermarket, I trolled over to the fruit aisle searching for the elusive Angelcots (an apricot hybrid that's supposed to be a cut above the rest). Startled by the sudden pseudo-rain shower pouring over the lettuces, I gazed right and was taken aback when I saw a sign for "Personal Watermelons."

What exactly is a Personal Watermelon? They are just like normal watermelons but are smaller, individualized versions that stay within the 5-pound range. If you want to get picky, they are in the Cucurbitaceous family and the Citrullus genus. Personal Watermelons have a thinner rind and redder flesh. Their seeds are clear, small and soft (unlike the hard black seeds in real watermelons. You know... the kind that you share.)

So why would someone want a Personal Watermelon? In my world, if you have a watermelon, you share it. Whenever I have pineapple chunks, I'm likely to inquire, "Would you like a chunk?" (I might even throw in a toothpick.) Or "How about a peach? Here you go. Take mine. Would you like a nice nectarine? Go ahead. I've got plenty more."

When fall rolls around, you'll find me right by your side sharing the harvest with a single question, "Would you like a bite of my apple?"

Remember back in grade school when a stern teacher reprimanded you for chewing gum? "If you don't have enough for the entire class, then spit it out."

I'm feeling the same way about Personal Watermelons. If you can't share your watermelon, stay home. Don't come to my picnic.

Watermelon is actually a vegetable that's related to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash. Steer clear of anyone who hoards any of it. They are not your friends. You want people in your life who share the bounty.

On your next foray to the supermarket or farm stand, go for the firm, evenly shaped, large watermelons that have a deep-pitched tone when slapped with an open palm. If you find yourself ogling the miniature watermelons, take my advice: Don't get Personal.