An old fence can double as a sign. Come summer in the Deep South, nothing quenches a thirst quite like an ice-cold, juicy red watermelon. A locally grown one is the best.
This photo was one that I took of a painted watermelon sign, which graces the front of a produce stand once owned by my grandparents. They grew their own crops, and then sold them to locals or anyone else interested in fresh produce. It is the same store where my dad once pumped gas, since the fruit stand was also one of those original types of full service stations; the kind where you could stay in your car while the attendant fueled it, then also cleaned the windows and checked under the hood. Where, long after the gas finished filling, you leisurely conversed over local happenings.
It is also the produce stand where one day my mother pulled up, riding as a passenger in the car with her brother; a day in which my dad was the one tending the pumps. As the story goes, as soon as he laid eyes upon her, he knew that he was going to marry her. The only thing standing in his way was convincing her! Fortunately, that didn’t take long, and fifty plus years later they were still in love until dad left earth for heaven. Some might argue chance, but God clearly orchestrated this fruit stand encounter.
My grandparents sold off the portion of the land that housed the store, because it got too hard for them to garden. The current owner does not grow what he sells, but does try to offer regional yields. I have never asked him about the story behind the watermelon painting, but as you can tell, it has been there for some time.
Some signs need no words, and instantly convey a message. I doubt many even notice this old weather worn watermelon sign as they zip past the produce stand. Fewer stop in to buy the locally grown produce, preferring instead the convenience and lower prices of larger supermarkets. The watermelon sign probably shone in its younger years and drew in crowds of thirsty customers, but now cowers unnoticed underneath the shade of nearby oak trees.
I cannot help but notice it, though, for its message speaks of more than just juicy melons. It instantly sends me back in time. To when what could have been just another gas stop, or a grocery purchase, birthed a love story that spanned generations. For me, this old watermelon sign communicates a message involving a huge piece of my heart.
We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.
Do you have a sign or some memorabilia that evokes special memories? Do you have a story of how God intervened in your life by orchestrating your path? I’d love to hear of it.