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Ask your doctor if watermelon is right for you

The Baptists out there might need to read this with one eye closed; but I want you Methodists to promise to read the whole thing before you put the paper down and head to the store. It hurts my feelings when folks don't finish my column.

Y'all - Ben Evans is fixin' to have a great month!

Why, you might ask? Because Ben Evans runs a produce stand. He sells corn, squash, beans, peas, peaches and home-grown tomatoes, of course. But he also sells watermelons. He sells lots and lots of watermelons. At least, he used to think he sold lots and lots of watermelons. But when word gets around about the latest scientific medical-type breakthrough, well, he ain't seen nothing yet.

You'd better stock up, Ben. The weekend's coming!

In case you missed it, scientists at Texas A&M University announced last week that eating watermelon has the same effect on men as taking Viagra.

There. I just out and said it.

Now if you don't know what the effects of Viagra are, just go ahead and finish the piece and then shake your head and wonder what all this was about, because I'm not going to get graphic in my explanation. I don't want the Baptists to close that other eye.

But for those of you who are well aware of what the effects of Viagra are, either from first-hand experience or hearsay, think about what has happened here.

No more clandestine orders on the Internet. No more discrete mailings in plain brown wrappers. No more whispered conversations between customers and the local druggists.

Male enhancement has come out of the closet - and right into your local supermarket.

Now, middle-aged men can walk right up to the produce counter at the neighborhood grocery store - or visit their friendly neighborhood produce man (see Ben Evans at the top of the page) and say, "I'll have the biggest Stone Mountain melon you've got" - or green striper or a Crimson Sweet; whatever turns you on, pardon the pun.

No embarrassment. No shame. Just another satisfied family man bringing home a treat for the little lady at home.

"You want it to be seedless?"

"No need," they'll say. "That's been taken care of."

Oops. There went the last Baptist.

The pharmaceutical companies may suffer, but what a boon to the farmers!

And guys, in case you are wondering - a slice of watermelon has practically no fat and only about 85 calories - that's about half what is in a Coca-Cola - so your waistline shouldn't expand with increased consumption. I said your waistline shouldn't. And watermelons are a good source of vitamin C, so more good news. Not as many colds this winter.

There is going to be some money made in Cordele this summer!

Cordele claims to be the "Watermelon Capital of the World" in case you didn't know.

Of course, the downside of this discovery is that ...

Shoot fire! I can't think of a downside. Can you?

The stuff that does the trick is called Citruline, which is found throughout the entire melon but has a greater concentration in the rind, which may explain why my mama's watermelon rind pickles were always such a big hit at church socials. And that makes sense because we always fed our leftover watermelon rinds to the hogs - and there never seemed to be any shortage of little piglets around.

Another positive side to this discovery is that watermelon consumption was also found to increase libido - in men and women. That means that it not only improves the "can," it also increases the "want to."

I can't wait to see how many men volunteer to do the shopping this weekend! The report came out on July 2, by the way, which explains why I saw my friend Clay force feeding fruit salad to his wife Holly at our Fourth of July party.

Scientists are now trying to grow varieties of watermelons with increased amounts of Citruline in the fleshy part. There is no word on whether you will need a prescription to buy those.

I do know that we have Camp Meeting coming up next week, and I'll bet the annual watermelon cutting and ice water party at the Barnett tent will be well-attended this year.

They are Methodists, by the way.

And forget the homemade peach ice cream. My lovely wife, Lisa, can eat watermelon for dessert this week - just like I will be doing.

And for the record - yes, I was at Texas A&M last week when this life-changing announcement was made. But as to whether that was pure coincidence, I am not saying.

A gentleman never tells.

Darrell Huckaby is an author and teacher in Rockdale County. E-mail him at dhuck08@bellsouth.net.