We could all use a little mercy now. Planting a watermelon seed could help: Jan Risher

We could all use a little mercy now. Planting a watermelon seed could help: Jan Risher
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My father had an awful singing voice. 

That did not stop him from daily serenades.

As in everything else he did, he did so at full tilt. He sang at full volume. 

He’s been gone a year and a half now. My dad was a larger-than-life figure, not only in our family’s lives but in our little town. Of course, since his passing, I think about him every day, but especially when it comes time to plant vegetables in the spring.

Gary Risher working in his bean patch in Forest, Mississippi in 2018.

My dad fancied himself a gardener — and, certainly, he grew plenty of produce to share with friends, family, strangers or anyone who would say, “My, what a tomato.”

As much as he enjoyed working in the garden, from my perspective, he enjoyed getting other people to work in his garden even more. Our battles over working in the garden were frequent and ferocious. 

I was reminded of him this morning when I was getting ready for work and Louisiana native and singer Mary Gauthier’s song “Mercy Now” began to play. The song almost always stops me in my tracks, but today it was a special gift as I felt stuck about what to write about in this column. The song’s initial lyrics are, “My father could use a little mercy now.”

It goes on to talk about the fruits of his labor.

The combination of father and fruit reminded me of the song my dad sang most frequently throughout my life. I never knew the title of the song or heard another person sing it. Generally, he blared at full volume the song’s opening line: “Plant a watermelon seed upon my grave and let the juice run through.”

And then, he would make an exaggerated slurping sound.


The slurping always happened twice.

Perhaps he didn’t sing the song every day, but it felt like he did. The song, and melody, if you can call it that, was such a part of our family’s existence that we didn’t think of it. It was there, exaggerated slurping and all.

I suppose some part of me thought everyone’s father walked around singing/shouting at the top of his lungs about planting a watermelon seed on his grave.

I never asked him where he learned the song. 

I googled the song and learned that it was a Boy Scout song. A man named Ted Ammon taught it at Camp Kickapoo. On another site, I found that its name is, in fact, “The Drool Song.” Its complete lyrics are:

Just plant a watermelon seed upon my grave,

And let the juice run through,

Just plant a watermelon seed upon my grave,

That’s all I ask of you.

Chicken and ‘possums are mighty fine,

But there ain’t no taste like a watermelon rind.

Just plant a watermelon seed upon my grave,

And let the juice run through.

The song was pure silliness. My dad was so full of life that I never considered what the lyrics were actually saying. 

Until he died.

And I knew that one day I would have to plant a watermelon seed upon his grave. 

I actually felt guilty that I didn’t do it last spring. After all, this was likely the request my dad had asked the most often of me and everyone else who heard him sing the song on repeat for at least six decades.

My dad was the last living member of his immediate family. Visiting his mother’s, his father’s and his brother’s final resting places was important to him. We often went with him to tend to their gravesites and just stand in silence and remember them — or share stories, and laugh, especially when it came to my uncle David. 

After listening to Mary Gauthier’s song this morning, I researched when to plant watermelon seeds in central Mississippi. Late March or early April appear to be prime planting time.

In the next few weeks, I’ll find the best seeds and visit the far eastern corner of the cemetery at the intersection of Old Highway 80 and Old Highway 21 in the town my father loved best, Forest, Mississippi.

While I’m there, I’ll sing a little song. 


About Mary Weyand 14395 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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