Watermelon Man, Tifton

I’ve been scanning a few of my older prints from film cameras recently and came across these photos, made in the parking lot of the Tifton Mall in 2006. Men who sell watermelons from their trucks are fixtures in every small town and crossroads, even today, but this gentleman had a pile of them.


5 thoughts on “Watermelon Man, Tifton

  1. Betty Ann Lindsey

    Brian there are two photos of my father selling watermelons in Tifton, Ga that you posted. I am so glad you took these of him! The one of him by himself with the watermelons interest me. Does your original have him in the photo or does it only show him on the side as shown on website. I would love to have the original if it does have all of him in photo.

    My Dad was a salesman all his life. He owned and operated a family furniture store in tifton. Along with the highway coming through and taking the building to expand hwy 82 and his health he had to retire. He had throat cancer and was legally blind. He loved being with people so this was his hobby that kept him busy and happy! Thanks!

    1. Brian Brown Post author

      Betty Ann- These are the only photos I made of him. I believe the photos were made on film and sadly I don’t have the negatives. I could probably print a decent size, though. He was nice to let me do it and such a humble gentleman. A friend of mine bought a couple of melons and they were great, as I recall.

      1. Betty Ann Lindsey

        Thanks! That would be awesome!
        My address:
        122 Eagle Dr
        Tifton, Ga 31793

        Would be glad to pay you for the photos.
        Please let me know and I will send you a check.

  2. Jesse M. Bookhardt

    Watermelon is certainly an iconic desirable fruit of Georgia. Most every farm kid can relate a story involving its scarlet sweet flesh. Georgia is a major producer of several products such as peanuts, peaches, pecans, and of course watermelons. I remember the important role the fruit played in our family. Daddy grew several cultivars that included Black Diamonds, Stone Mountains, Charleston Grays, and one called Congo.
    The warm South Georgia sands of Jeff Davis County always insured that we had a bountiful crop for our own use. Daddy always attempted to make sure he planted early enough to have several ripe ones for Fourth of July celebrations. In fact, that is about all we did to celebrate; that is, we ate watermelon. Since freezer space was scarce, we often put them out of the way under a bed until the Fourth arrived. All seven children were then seated at our large oil cloth covered kitchen table with newspaper spread in front of us. Mama or Daddy sliced the sweet melons into sections and handed one to each of us. There was nothing better than that.
    Back in those days, we didn’t have daily sweet treats as many do now. We ate things that were in season such as wild plums in the spring, melons in the summer, boiled peanuts in late summer and fall, muscadines(Bullis) in September and later pecans in November and December. If a farmer had a patch of melons near a public road, he had to be careful to guard against not only critters that loved them, but humans who would “borrow” one every now and then.
    The practice of “borrowing” a melon backfired on a couple of Yankee ladies I know from Massachusetts. They were walking down a country lane in Dixie and came across a patch of melons. They first walked by and noticed them and thought how nice it would be to have one. So on their way back home, they steeled their nerves and scooped up a small striped round one that didn’t appear to be too heavy to tote. When they arrived home they eagerly placed it on their kitchen table and with a large knife sliced it into sections. With great haste they began to devour the coveted sweet meat. Somehow the watermelon just didn’t taste right. It didn’t look red either, so they though it was one with light yellow flesh. In fact, the melon was quite watery and had a mild unpleasant, rather disgusting taste, nothing like a watermelon. They were forced to spit out that which they had attempted to consume, and to discard the remains of the “borrowed” melon.
    In a few days, they told a local friend about the melon and the friend informed them that they had not “borrowed” a watermelon but had instead picked a citron which grows wild in the South. I remember citrons. They were only good for making certain candies, preserves, and making farmers curse when they were plowing. If you are going to “borrow” a melon, by all means make sure that it is a real melon.


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