By Jack James
There must be some awfully good dirt on Highway 255 south of Lavaca. Or maybe it’s the seeds or even the man with the hoe and determined look on his face. But J. D. Jeffcoat grew this huge “Mount Hoosier” watermelon in his garden! It came in at 56.4 pounds! Now that would feed a large picnic crowd!
J. D. isn’t new to growing watermelons. In the 1940s and 50s, he and his family grew them along with other stuff at their home in the old Diamond Grove Community on Highway 22 and 96. They sold watermelons far and wide, down as far as Hope, Arkansas, “Arkansas’ Watermelon Capital.” J. D. told me that once his family truck was so overloaded on a trip to sell that a policeman pulled them over. The officer asked if he could have a watermelon. They set him up and parted ways.
Fort Chaffee took over the home place and J. D. moved to Central City, buying 42 acres and starting all over again. You can’t keep a good man down! And J. D. is a great man.
With this watermelon and others close to it, it’s no wonder his grass is turning brown. These things are sucking all the water out of the ground in Northeast Sebastian County!