from Outside Privies and Dinner Pails, A Living History of Southwest Iowa
By Jack Bradford of Peninsula, Ohio
Once upon a time in a land far, far away (Southwest Iowa in the ‘60s, actually) there was a tradition known as "scurving" your friend's watermelon patch.
The "scurver" would silently seek out the victim's patch (nearly everyone had one-usually next to the traditional vegetable garden). Then, in the dark of night (being on the lookout for cows, pigs, and bunny rabbits) the scurver would sneak into the patch, move the watermelon around a bit, and maybe break open a melon or two in triumphant announcement that your friend had been scurved!!
The topic came up in the locker room after a Corning High School football practice when a friend boasted to several of us that his watermelon patch could NEVER be found and therefore never scurved.
What he had not thought about was the use of modern technology. My friend Dave's dad had a small 3 seater airplane, and Dave had his pilot's license!
So immediately after leaving the locker room, Dave, another friend Mike, and I headed for our little small town airport with its dirt runway.
In a few minutes, we were airborne towards our confident, cocky, and boastful friend's farm. We flew inconspicuously over the farm several times and sure enough, there was the watermelon patch tucked so well in a cornfield, no one would have ever found it from the ground!
We took careful notes on the exact location and headed home.
By this time, it was getting dark (perfect!) and we drove back to the farm, flashlights in hand. We found the patch, carving greetings to our friend in a few of the melons and took one of the melons to take to practice the next day.
His look of disbelief was hilarious! Where were our cell phone cameras when we really needed them!