Friday, April 8, 2011

Watermelons in the Garden

by Jan Shoop
StarShine has a BIG garden. It’s filled with flowers, vegetables and weeds. The garden is about the size of a basketball court and faces the park and public swimming pool on the south. On the north side, the garden faces the school playground.

All of the students and teachers work in the garden and grow a variety of flowers and vegetables. In the summertime; melons take over the garden along with the grass.

Since the students and teachers are gone during the summer months. It was my job to water the garden. Every morning when I got to school, I’d go out and start the sprinkler. A few hours later I’d walk back out and turn the water off. The hose was attached to a spigot that was on the ground. The spigot was pretty wobbly and leaked. To start the sprinkler, I’d unscrew the spigot knob and screw in the hose. If I wasn’t careful, the spigot would fall apart and water would go everywhere.

This was a particularly great summer for watermelons. We probably had 50 watermelons growing in the garden. The melons got bigger and bigger.

Each day while I was watering the garden I’d wave to students and parents as they walked to the public pool. I think most of the neighborhood spent their days or afternoons at the pool.

One day, I was standing in the middle of the garden wondering what to do with all the watermelons. Then one of my favorite parents and her two children walked by the fence on their way home from the pool. I waved and without much thought asked them if they would like to have a watermelon. The kids excitedly said, “Yes.” Now the problem with my brilliant idea was how to hoist the watermelon over the fence to the family. I picked the smallest watermelon, which probably still weighed 100 pounds, and walked over to the fence.

The fence that surrounds the school is steel and at least 8 feet high. I climbed up on the first part of the fence with the watermelon tucked under my arm. I got my balance, stood on my tippy toes and proceeded to push the watermelon over the fence. It was probably a pretty funny site. There I was gripping the fence, standing on my toes, pushing a gigantic watermelon over the top. I finally got the watermelon over and it flipped down and landed right in the arms of the parent.

Boy -- was I glad. All I needed was for the watermelon to slip and land on me or one of the kids. We would have been squished. Luckily the parent caught the watermelon and the whole family walked home to enjoy it. I climbed off the fence, dusted the dirt off my clothes, turned off the sprinklers and went back to my office. I sat there wondering how many school principals spend their summer days water gardens, climbing fences and delivering watermelons.