Seeds of memory

I don’t exactly recall how old I was but I remember it happened on a a very hot day and I was at my grandparents’ home. Tired and sweaty after playing, I gladly had some of the cold watermelon slices I was offered as a snack. It was sweet and juicy but in my haste in consuming the fruit, I had accidentally swallowed a couple of seeds.

I remember my terror as I felt it slide through my throat. I tried to force it back out but couldn’t. I think my grandma assured me it was okay but I was still worried as I walked back home. I was always told that I wasn’t supposed to swallow seeds, why would adults give out that warning if it’s okay to eat them anyway? I was convinced I would have to be rushed to the hospital soon and doctors would have to open me up and hunt for the seeds in my stomach. Terrible thoughts, I know.

Which may probably be why I cried as I walked the short distance home. I was crying when I recounted the incident to my mother and was still sobbing when my dad came home from work nearly an hour later.

My dad asked my mom what I was wailing about and she told him that I had swallowed a few watermelon seeds. My dad then told me that the seed would now germinate in my tummy and that it would grow, not a bad thing he said, as we’d then have our very own watermelon source. Imagine all the watermelon we could have for free, he said.

In my mind’s eye, I saw my stomach would grow, housing a humongous watermelon that would have vines that would stick out of my mouth, which would produce more watermelons. I figured that what must have happened to all those women who walk around with their big bellies, they must have swallowed watermelon seeds too!

Of course, I howled even louder and my mom scolded my father for scaring me more than I already was. He told me then that he was just kidding and that I having nothing to worry about. I don’t remember how he convinced me that he was telling the truth then but I guess I bought it or I would have remembered crying all night.

One night several years later when we were having some watermelon after dinner, I told my dad to eat his slice carefully or the seeds might grow inside his belly. He laughed, amused that I remembered the incident from several years back. He said he thought that I may be too young to remember what had happened then.

What bought on this anecdote? Well, we were watching the TV show What’s Good For You last night and they tackled this old wives’ tale. I figured long before the experiment on the show that the seeds won’t have a harmful effect. Hey, I even enjoy eating roasted butong pakwan (watermelon seeds) now and what do you know, it’s actually nutritious!

Still, I now prefer the seedless watermelon variety. Pity they’re not as common in the Philippines as it is here or it might have saved me from that horrific memory from many years before.

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Published in: on July 11, 2006 at 5:03 pm  Comments (2)