Physics and Watermelons
One might ask - What in the world does the Laws of Physics have to do with Watermelons- A great deal I assure you I was subjected to the Law asserting that FOR EVERY ACTION - THERE IS AN EQUAL AND OPPOSITE REACTION Let me explain.
The area around Green River is some of the best Melon Growing Farmland in the country. A melon packing house was situated next to the Railroad Track that brought us to Green River. Shortly after our arrival we learned that this packing house was packing the Cantaloupe harvest. Since only green melons were suitable for packing and loading on to Railroad Cars. Most were were Green as grass, to ripen on the trip across the country. The melons moved along a conveyor on the second floor of the packing house. The ripe ones were discarded and thrown into a long wooden chute was positioned in line with a rather large holding pen to catch the melons that were too ripe to ship. Every day local Farmers came to collect these ripe melons to feed them to their Pigs.
Several of us boys would take the spoon out of our Mess Kit walk down to the packing house and have a Cantaloupe (Sugar Melon Feast. We would just catch a nice ripe cantaloupe -cut it open and eat the best part and throw the rest back for the pigs. The first ones were always delicious- but the fifth or six one didn't go down so well.
A short time after this, we were riding back to camp, after a hard day at the "office". and we noticed a Watermelon patch. about a mile from camp, just coming in to full bloom. Our attention was diverted from Sugar Melons to Watermelons . In 1940 stealing Watermelons was considered a prank- today you would be charged with Grand Theft Melon..
I invited my friends MATT and RED RYDER to go with me on a Watermelon Hunt after Sundown.. That's a great idea were sick of Sugar melons. As soon as the sun went down the three of us emptied the dirty clothes out of our barracks bags , slung the bags over our shoulders and started off toward the Watermelon patch. Barracks Bags were over grown Laundry Bags with a heavy draw string to close them.
At this point I should point out that virtually all farm land in the area is irrigated with rather large irrigation ditches. 4 or 5 feet wide and 3 to 4 feet deep. Many are filled with water from time to time. The three of us were Sneaking in a crouched position as we entered the patch under the cover of darkness. Each of us selected two nice ripe Watermelons and put them into our barracks bag.. Red just held the bag at his side while Matt slung his around his neck. I decided the best way to carry mine, was to sling the bag over my shoulder with one melon in front against my chest and one resting on my back. I have no way of determining the weight of a sizable watermelon but I suspect the weighed ten or fifteen pounds each.
Feeling rather smug at the successful completion of this caper. We started back toward the camp. Just at that time we heard the report of a 12 gauge Shotgun shattering the silence, not to mention what it did to our nervous systems. We took off running., as fast as we could with the Boom Boom Boom of the shotgun closing fast.
With each step I took - The two watermelons flew away from me them immediately pounded my Chest with a force that was excruciating. I just knew they were going to break a half a dozen ribs. I was afraid to stop long enough to readjust them . I thought if the Melons didn't kill me-the Shotgun would. Then I heard Matt yell as he fell headfirst into a large irrigation ditch full of water. With the 2 Watermelons tied around his neck- He almost drowned before we could fish him out. By this time the Farmer must have decided that we got the message and stopped firing. When we dragged back into camp the rest of guys in our barracks laughed until LIGHTS OUT . But we all enjoyed the vine ripened Watermelons That exploit is just one of the fond memories we have cherished through the years.
We retell it with each get together.
- Sincerely Ed Braun
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