Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sittin' and Spittin'

Sittin' and Spittin.' That's what Dad calls it. What we are doing right now. Sittin' and spittin.' He learned it from his dad who learned it from his dad. Sometimes, three of us would sit and spit but today there are just two of us. Me and Dad. Sittin' on a fence rail and spittin' watermelon seeds. We have a whole bowl of watermelon; I know we won't eat all of it today. There's not enough time.

We sit and spit as we laugh at the dog trying to catch the seeds. He catches some but not many. Birds come too and fight over the seeds he misses. Ants even gather around one working together to carry it away. Sometimes we just sit and spit quietly; other times, like today, Dad tells me stories about when he and Grandpa would sit and spit. One day, a rattler was hiding near the fence and neither of them knew until it slithered out towards the bowl, shaking its tail at them. They stood up on the fence posts and waited an hour for it to leave. Grandpa wasn't mad they had to wait; just that they hadn't grabbed the watermelon before they climbed up the fence.

Dad tells me about the day Aunt Kate tried to sit and spit with them. Normally his little sister didn't go with them but Grandma was napping so Grandpa made Dad invite her. She was excited and talked nonstop all the way to the fence. Her legs were to short to climb to the top rail so Grandpa lifted her up. Then, she couldn't keep her balance so Grandpa held her on his lap. Dad had to keep hold of the bowl which was usually Grandpa's job. Aunt Kate kept talking and talking so Dad gave her big pieces of watermelon with lots of seeds in them. She tried to spit them out like Dad and Grandpa but she couldn't. They just slipped out of her mouth, down her chin, and onto her white dress. They finished up and headed inside. Grandma was up and as soon as she saw Aunt Kate's dress, she yelled at Grandpa. He grabbed her up and swung her around and around the kitchen until they were all laughing.

We sit and spit quietly. Dad keeps looking at his watch. I know our time is almost up. He gets a far away look in his eyes and freezes for a little while. When he starts to speak, a tear slips down his cheek. "Your grandma and grandpa met sittin' and spittin' a long time ago," he says and takes a deep breath. He continues, "Grandpa saw a beautiful girl at a dance and asked her for a date. She told him she couldn't go anywhere with him but she could meet him at his house the next Saturday after her chores were finished. Grandpa was so excited he ran home without finding out what time that would be or even asking her name! He wasn't even sure she knew where he lived but he was too embarrassed to go back. The next seven days passed slower than molasses. Come Saturday, Grandpa's dad grabbed the bowl of watermelon and took Grandpa out to sit and spit. No sooner had they started a seed spitting contest then she walked up. Grandpa turned as red as a beet. She climbed up between them, picked a juicy piece, took a bite, and spit a seed farther than either of them. Two months later, they were married and had watermelon at the reception." Dad gets quiet again and looks at his watch. "Well, we best get changed. We don't need your mama getting all upset if we aren't ready in time." We jumped down and I took the bowl inside with us.

As we walked toward the house, I asked, "Dad, where do you think Grandpa is now?"

He replied tears streaming down his smiling face, "He's on a fence with Grandma in heaven. Sittin' and spittin."

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