It is with a fond farewell that I bid adieu to the 58Th Annual Watermelon Festival in Cordele GA (about 3:15 minutes South of Woodstock GA). This year was in many ways a milestone for me and the the show.
It was the Official Release of our first Cookbook, Chef and the Fatman Red, White and Blue Collar Cookin', our first book signing, the first Watermelon Festival for young 1 yr old Lindsay aka "little blob" as I affectionately refer to her as (Mike and Chris Bresnan's offspring) it was a festival milestone (our fourth official trip to the same event) in our five year on-air history and yes, the first time I had a chance to eat some AWESOME BBQ at Smoakies on Cemetery LN. I had my first interview with a local media legend...Phil Streetman (who had already interviewed me five times in the last four years) who has spent the last 48 years on local radio and television, bringing locals a "little good news today" like I am sure Anne Murray would be proud of, this might be Phil's last year covering the Festival, I know he will be sorely missed not only for his obvious love for the Festival but for his true "American Spirit" that drove him every day (three interviews a day 7 days a week) to find the "good news" (which is so much harder).
Ah, so many firsts, although memorable, it was the constants that really made me feel whole again. The incredible friendliness of the people of Cordele everyone saying hello, hi, how are ya? (and meaning it), Monica Simmons (the President of the Cordele/Crsip County Chamber of Commerce) running crazy but gettin er done! It was dinner at the Daphne Lodge and the fabulous fried pickles, drinking a couple of ice cold beers on our little deck outside the very fine Best Western on a warm balmy Cordlele evening. The extreme triple digit heat index on the show set in cozy Watermelon Park, it was Watermelon Queens singing country classics, and the town crooners singing God Bless America. It's watermelon eating contests viewed by hundreds of happy onlookers cheering on their favorite "slogger" (name for contestant), kids coming up for air with watermelon juice covering them from head-to-toe and no mother caring. It's guys and gals of all ages and social strata working very hard to catch the wind as their watermelon seed comes flying out of their mouths, delighting the crowds but making every "spitter" take note of techniques used and making sure the judges count every inch but giving none.
Yes, Doc Hollywood can have his "squash festival" it looked nice, as nice as Hollywood could make it, but for me, give me Cordele Watemelons (the sweetest watermelon in the country...it's the soil you know), the 59Th Annual Cordele Watermelon Festival and the REALITY of that hot summer weekend next year, all the firsts and all of the constants that I will be experiencing with such relish, and....I'll be happy, happy to just "spit one" for the team and remember how lucky I am to be in Cordele GA for the 59th Annual Watermelon Festival.
Then all will truly be at peace with my world.
Thank you Cordele!