A Word from the Valley


This week’s word from the valley is ‘lo.
No, not low, down in the valley so low…just ‘lo. ·It’s southern; it means good morning, good afternoon, good evening, and hi…but not hello, that would be ludicrous. ·My level of southern tends to vary from day to day, and my accent runs the gamut from nondetection to “were you born in a barn”, mostly depending on how many times I’ve talked to my mother. ·Today was a very southern day. ·It started with the herd of cattle in my front yard this morning, which led to my palm tree now being flush with the ground, and ended with a conversation I had with a woman telling me about “the biggest watermelon she had ever seen,” which was about the size of “a basketball.” ·If you throw in a two hour conversation with my mother and both sisters, what you end up with is me speaking as though I just stepped out of Deliverance. ·It’s not always a bad thing really, in fact, there are many parts of my southern heritage of which I am quite proud. · My two favorites are wearing funny hats and telling colorful stories. ·The cows and the watermelon reminded me of one such colorful story from my childhood about a local man named Verne. (Name changed to protect him from looking like a complete idiot.)


The south is known for many things, some good, some not so good.  One thing we are known for is growing things bigger (get you minds out of the gutter.)  If you think I’m kidding, you should look at the watermelons around here and compare them to the ones at the Midsouth Fair.  A 15 lb watermelon is small.  There was a man who lived around the bend from where I grew up, whom I shall call Verne.  Verne was a farmer.  He raised one thing: watermelons.  Every year, come planting time, Verne would walk out to the old, dry-rotted barn and remove from its interior a sack of seeds, watermelon seeds, which he had saved from the previous year.  He would then walk out to the neighbor’s field with three five gallon buckets and fill them to the brim with cow manure.  From there he would make his way into the watermelon patch which he had spent all winter covering with left overs which included: potato peels, egg shells, fish heads, and the occasional squirrel carcass.  If you want organic, he’s got it.  He would then spread the manure over the refuse as even as a shovel can spread it and would then proceed to till the ground 6 inches deep to ensure maximum mixing.  You could always tell it was time to plant the watermelons as the spring air would be filled with the wondrous odors of dogwood, honeysuckle, and cow-poop-fish-stank.  After hours of tilling, he would carefully mound piles of soil and place in the center of each 3 little seeds.  He would spend the next 5 months fertilizing, watering, pruning, weeding, and cultivating.  Come September, he would have the biggest watermelons in town.  The average weight of one melon was a minimum of 15 lbs, and if it wasn’t, he would proclaim, “it ain’t fittin’ to eat.”  (That makes it wasn’t palatable.)  He always chose one melon to enter in the county fair.  It was from the seeds from this melon that next year’s crop would grow.  When I was about 8 years old, Verne hit the watermelon jackpot and managed to grow a 55 lb watermelon.  He was so proud of this melon that he refused to allow anyone to help him load into his truck.  Some how, old Verne (who was around 60) managed to hoist it into the cab of his 1979 Chevy Custom Deluxe and speed off to enter his prize winning melon.  As he was cruising along at a cool 45 miles an hour, a dog darted out in front of him.  He swerved to miss it just as a cattle truck was coming around the corner.  Verne jerked the wheel back the other way, causing the watermelon to force open the door.  Verne, not wanting to lose his melon, dove after it. It was about this time that the truck driver jerked his wheel to avoid a collision.  The trailer hitch popped on the cattle car, and it, the cows, , Verne, and the prize winning melon went tumbling into the ravine.  The truck driver managed to escape unscathed and radioed for help.  It wasn’t long until the local sheriff arrived on the scene.  At this point Verne’s truck was idling steady on the side of the road.  Verne was covered head to toe in exploded melon, surrounded by several bellowing, bleeding cows.  The sheriff stepped up to the ravine, and thanks to the rather large watermelon shell, did not notice Verne.  The following conversation ensued (translation in parentheses for those that don’t speak hillbilly):

Sheriff:  Sir, whatsa madder witdat cow ove’air? (What is the matter with that cow over there?)

Truck driver: Gotta broke laig. (He has a broken leg.)

BAM! The sheriff shoots the cow in the head.

Sheriff: N’thatun? (And that one?)

Truck driver: Gotta broke laig. (He has a broken leg.)

BAM! Shoots that cow in the head.

Truck driver: Uh sharf, I reckon thars a feller upinunder that busted wartermelon.  (Sheriff, I think there’s someone under the broken watermelon.)

Sheriff: Whatcha thanksamadder wit’em? (What do you think is wrong with him?)

Verne yells:  Not a goddamn thing!!

Later Verne was taken to the hospital for, you guessed it, a broken leg.  He explained to the emergency room doctor that he had not told the sheriff about his leg at the scene of the wreck because he was afraid of being shot in the head. The good news is: Verne had a back up melon and took home his cash prize from the fair.

The moral of the story:  Melons are too much fucking trouble, that’s why I stick with nuts. 🙂

As an added treat, I wanted to include a couple of recipes to go along with the story.

Strawberry-melon cooler

2 cups strawberry juice

1 cup vodka

1/3 cup sugar

3 cups White Zinfandel

2 cups frozen melon balls.

Stir sugar into juice until dissolved.  Add vodka and white zin and stir.  Pour a glass and use your melon balls as ice cubes.  Enjoy!

Texas Sirloin Chili Burger

1 lb ground sirloin

1 Tbsp Wyler’s Instant Beed Bouillon

1/4 chopped Vidalia onion

3 Tbsp of your favorite salsa

3 finely chopped green chilies (use any peppers you like.  I use habaneras)

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and form into 4 patties.  Grill or broil.  Add a slice of pepper jack and guacamole for a delicious treat!

Have fun, ya’ll.

P.S.  All of these wonderful ingredients can be found at your local SaveMart.  Be sure to shop with your Gay Central Valley S.H.A.R.E.S card!  (Don’t have one? Shame on you!  Email them your address and they’ll get one right out to you, it’s free.)


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