Local news report the other day: Watermelons aren’t as sweet this year. Yet, somehow with watermelons, that doesn’t always matter. Watermelons make friends for you. Some, you don’t expect. Like this one.

My friends Kyle and Ashley were visiting, with their itty bitties. August, just turned one, has learned to walk, and motors madly in ever direction, to the great delight of passersby and the vigilant eye of mom and dad.

We bought farmer’s market stuff. Yummy stuff. A home-grown watermelon among our treasures. When we got it home, it wasn’t spectacular. But it had the good grace to keep sweetening up in the fridge all through the next week, yielding, at last, sweet little nuggets perfect out of the melon-baller, an almost dream-like accompaniment for curry. Way yum.

And there was an added wonder in it, beyond the flavor. Tired of dealing with the too-many and tedious seeds (seed-spitting competitions are definitely a multi-person sport), I decided to see whether watermelon would go the way of the raspberry bits left over from my picking excursion to Mountain Home Berry Farm. Those little berry crumbles were gone by morning…why not watermelon?
So out the big watermelon half went.

Next morning…delight! Some local critter-buddy had come to dine at the watermelon. Still plenty left, but toothmarks aplenty and the seeds left in a neat pile at the bottom of the rind-bowl.

Then, next night, even better! The cats told me we had a visitor, and there he was just a foot away: a fat possum, with silver-tipped fur and a tail as big around as my finger, working diligently at the rind, heedless of my flashlight.

Can I describe how happy that sharing made me? Or how richly I imagined the possum’s happiness must have been so find something so good and special to eat? Better than the sweetest watermelon, it was. And without having to deal with the seeds.

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