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Bond Watermelon Feast 2010
An Oriental Tradition Begins Fifth Decade
August 9, 2010

his year, John Bond won’t have to sneak watermelons into his guests’ unlocked cars. For the 41st year, John and Fay Bond hosted their community melon feast. From the number of takers that showed up, getting rid of the rinds, not the whole melons, will be the larger task.

Let the feast begin: the Bond’s front yard at 4:00p on Sunday. The entire community was invited. A sizable portion accepted the offer.
Clara Small dispatching a slice of melon, one forkful – and smile – at a time. Clara is the grand daughter of Ken and Carol Small.

Heading into its fifth decade, the event has fallen into the easy rhythm of tradition. By now,the community knows the date – the second weekend of August. The rain date is still the same – “five minutes later” says Fay. The source of the melons? Still the Bond’s Bertie County farm. Even the knife used to cut the melons has remained unchanged. One of the blades that did the slicing this week end is the same employed back in 1969, the year the Bonds kicked off the tradition.

Friends from way back: Ralph Scharr, Fay Bond – and Fay’s knife

One thing that has changed, though, is how John gets rid of leftover melons.

One year, says Fay, the couple had too many watermelons. To get rid of them, John snuck them into unsuspecting guests’ cars. Any car that was found with the doors unlocked picked up a green hitch hiker.

John Bond demonstrating how to check a melon for ripeness. In years past, this melon might have ridden home in an unsuspecting visitor’s back seat.

That won’t be a problem this year. Of the 80 melons the Bonds started with, two hours into the party, 50 had been dispatched. By Fay’s reckoning, that means “about 400 people” had been served.

So what happens to this year’s leftover rinds and melons? Fay pickles some of the rinds. The turtles which live in the Bond’s back yard eat some. And the whole melons that used to be slipped into visitors’ cars? These days, Fay says, “We give them away”. And melons that still don’t find a home. “We eat ‘em!”

We eat ‘em! 2 1/2 year old Jayden dispatches his second slice.


Which red to take? Sailor Gordon LeGrand, who’s used to making split second decisions on the water, navigates the offerings.
Melon checker: John Bond’s thumb guaging for ripeness
Keith Crisco shares a light moment with Irma Fay Maxbauer
That way: Carol Small points Elena and Clara (and forks and melon rinds) in the right direction.
While humans enjoyed the red part of the melon, the turtles that live in the Bond’s back yard feasted on the rinds. Here, Steve and Jodie Devera catch a glimpse.
The last guest: a turtle eyes a piece of melon..

Posted Monday August 9, 2010 by Bernie Harberts

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