I can't cut into a watermelon without thinking of my grandfather.
Slicing into a whole watermelon always brings back fond memories of family gatherings at my grandparents' home in the Philadelphia suburbs. Their back yard included the largest garden that I have ever seen and much of the bounty on the heavily-laden picnic tables came from it.
And there was always watermelon.
I just loved our visits to family get-togethers at Grandmom and Grandpop's house, which was always filled with good food and noisy aunts, uncles, cousins, and, most of the time, longtime family friends that the kids called "aunt" or "uncle," even though they weren't really related.
Those memories always come flooding back at this time of the year as family gatherings and parties of all sorts start to fill the empty spaces on the calendar.
Spring is giving way to summer, and with it comes more reasons to get together - perhaps for a Father's Day gathering this weekend, or a Fourth of July picnic in someone's back yard.
It's also the season for graduation parties, weddings and anniversaries, company picnics, class reunions and family reunions.
It's a time for creating memories and remembering those special times from years past.
And we'd love it if you would share those memories with our readers.
This year's "I Remember When" special section, to be published on June 28, will be dedicated to the stories and photos about your favorite and most memorable parties or get togethers.
We're asking Sentinel readers to write a little bit about their fondest memories of significant parties in their lives - a birthday, graduation, shower, wedding, anniversary, reunion or special holiday celebration, such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's or Easter. Maybe you spread a little luck of the Irish on St. Patrick's Day, or celebrate Christmas in July. Those are the stories we'd like to share in our special section.
And, please, send in photos, too. Lots of photos.
While I already know that people having a good time love to share stories and pictures (just look at Facebook), we are offering an incentive to make it more fun. One person, randomly selected from all who submit stories/photos, will win a $50 gift certificate to J.P. Edwards in Lewistown.
Please submit your stories and photos for "I Remember When: Most Memorable Parties," by June 17 in one of the following ways:
By mail: Send to Jane Cannon Mort, Special Projects Editor, The Sentinel, P.O. Box 588, Lewistown, PA 17044;
Online: Email memories and JPG images as attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org;
Upload your stories and photos through our Virtual Newsroom at www.lewistownsentinel.com. Click on "Submit news" located on the green bar at the very top of the home page. Click on the heading "Special projects," then click on "I Remember When." Follow the instructions to submit text and/or photos; or,
Drop off your items at The Sentinel office, at the corner of Sixth Street and Summit Drive in Pleasant Acres, Lewistown.
If you're scanning a photo, set the scanner to 100 percent size and 300 dpi resolution. Items photographed with your digital camera should be at the highest image quality and sent exactly as they come off the camera. If you want to have an item scanned while you wait, call The Sentinel's photo department at 248-6741, ext. 131 for an appointment.
If you have any questions, call Jane Cannon Mort at 286-6741, ext. 115 or email email@example.com.