At the end of a long summer day, I remember my Dad would say, "Come on. Let's go pick out a watermelon," and off we'd trek to the watermelon patch. I'd follow along, taking two steps to his one, on our search for the perfect watermelon. "Here's one," I'd say, pointing to a bright green melon, and he would walk over, squat to the ground, and thump it. "No, that one's not quite ready," he'd say, and we'd keep on looking.
Then, he'd spot one hiding underneath a vine, and again he'd squat down, sweep away the vine, and thump it. "No, not that one either." Again and again, melon after melon, he'd thump, thump, thump, only to get up and walk away.
"Why do you thump them?" I'd ask.
"That's how you can tell if it's ready," he'd reply.
I didn't fully understand, but I knew if I trusted him, and if he thumped enough melons, he would find the perfect one. Finally, at long last, I'd hear him say, "Here it is! This is the one!" He'd gently pull it from the vine, and we'd walk back to the house where he would slice it into wedges. Perfectly ripe, juicy, and filled with little black seeds, we'd enjoy the treat. Nothing quite compares.
He did pass on his secret about the thump...hmmm...should I tell?