There is nothing better than an ice cold watermelon on a hot summer day to refresh the body and soul.
My great-grandparents’ home still exists. Nestled under the loblolly pines in central Louisiana, the “old Terrell homeplace” sits along the banks of Spring Creek which meanders through the woods in Rapides Parish and connects properties neighbors once farmed.
The house is tired now and has not been lived in for years. But standing by the front porch, you can still hear the bustle and clamor caused by my grandmother and her eight siblings coming and going. Together they farmed crops, fed pigs and cows, and when they finished chores, the brothers engaged in horseplay and the sisters played endless games of hide-and-seek.
Great-grandmother Minnie began cooking breakfast before the sun rose above the treetops. Aromas of bacon cured in the smokehouse drifted up the hill to the barn where Uncle Grant milked the family’s dairy cow.
Behind the house where the yard dropped off to the bank of the creek, perishable food like milk stayed cold in the spring-fed waters. An oblong wooden box with no top or bottom and drilled holes along the sides allowed the water to run through.
When summer days heated up and the humidity bore down on the family, the children raised heartfelt pleas to escape to the swimming hole downstream from the house. A slight nod by great-grandfather William set them off downhill to the oasis. Uncle Pete grabbed a couple ripened watermelons off the vine and plunged them into the creek box before running down the dirt rode to catch up with the brood who plowed ahead, halfway there.
While the family swam and sunbathed, the ice cold waters nearly froze those melons. Back home, the girls laid out newspapers on the porch and the boys cut the melons into half-round pieces. Everyone gobbled up the sweet treat, flinching from the cold on their teeth.
Later, reclining along the width of the porch, the children rested while a sparing wind rustled the leaves. Minnie and William slowly rocked as their eyelids grew heavy. Refreshed––at rest, if only for a short time.
Jesus rested. He stepped away from the commonplace, in the presence of Abba, Father, to find refreshment. He returned, renewed.
This year’s summer vacation may more likely be a “staycation.” But even with the restrictions, take a break, be still and catch your breath. Plans do not have to be fussy. They only need to include a couple of things. First, involve the family. Take a walk with your sweetie, play with your children or grands. Do a fun thing for you.
Then, spend time with your Lord... and be refreshed.
Article written by Jim Edminson, Charity & Children Editor