He explained to me that this was the very best way to find a ripe watermelon, that it never fails! You take a broom straw, balance it carefully across the melon, then turn it loose. The straw will start to wobble, then spin. The faster it spins and the more times it goes around, the riper the melon is! He said it had to do with the water content in the melon, the juicier it was, the more it moved the straw. This is apparently based on the theory that "water witches" use with divining rods to find water through the magnetic property of the water and since I thoroughly believe in water witching, I believed him!
He showed me how to do it and helped me pick out a good melon by just using the straw. He said when he knew he was going to buy a watermelon, he took his own straw to the store with him. If he happened to not have it with him, he went to the housewares dept of the store and broke a straw off a broom to use.
Amazingly enough, when I cut the melon open later, it was one of the juiciest most flavorful melons I'd had in a long time. So for a long time after that, I carried a broom straw in my purse and I never got a bad melon! Of course I got stares and questions, so I passed on the words of wisdom given to me by the old man.
I also taught family members and friends what I'd learned. They've all told me at one time or another that it's been the most accurate way they've been able to pick melons out! My mom actually gets a big kick out of doing this at the store even now!
I ended up standing there for over 30 minutes, having the most enjoyable conversation with that wonderful man about the way things were when he was a youngster way back when!
Source: A wise old man I met in a grocery store in Arizona many years ago.
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