The watermelon seed, in memoriam

“Seeds! Seeds!” shrieks the three-year-old, terrified of the tiny flecks of white in his seedless watermelon. Kid, I say, you don’t know from watermelon seeds.

Once upon a time, eating a slice of watermelon was always both a rare, seasonal treat, and one fraught with labor. You had to eat around the seeds, picking them out, to enjoy the fruit, which, if you were lucky, would be as sweet as candy and not as firm as watery Styrofoam (What’s Styrofoam? my kids would ask, but that’s for a different post).

There have been some popular girls clothes lately with watermelon prints, and it makes me sad. No designer could create a prettier piece of fruit. One of the most exquisite botanical designs on the planet — a simple slice of watermelon festooned with big, black, buggy-looking things — has been all but destroyed, deveined, emptied of its essence, for the convenience of picky three-year-old diners.

I doubt I’ll ever see a watermelon dress with no black seeds. It would look like a ladybug with no dots. It’d have no oomph, no je ne sais quoi, no acknowledgment that unpleasantness can exist – and even enhance a situation. Not every chicken is boneless, and apples don’t grow in slices.

And I’ll have to ask the next little girl, I see wearing a watermelon print dress, what are those black things? Ten-to-one she doesn’t say seeds.–Jillian O’Connor

 Yes, yes, I realize seeded watermelons are out there somewhere, but when was the last time you ate from one? Has your child ever had the real thing? Or even seen an orange seed? Comments welcome!