ORIENTAL, N.C. (WNCT) – Every second Sunday in August, like clockwork, an Oriental tradition rolls on.
“Oh, oh, isn’t it about time for the watermelon cutting,” said Fay Midyette Bond, who hosted the watermelon cutting party on her front lawn in Oriental.
“This is our 48th one,” said Bond. “48 years. We turned our farm over in Bertie County over to my brother in law. And my husband went over there one day with his truck and he gave John a truck load of watermelon and John brought them home and he started to sell them. I said no no no let’s not sell them let’s have a party. I thought well that’s a perfect way to introduce the new people that come here to those that have been here. That’s how we got started. I think we had about 50 people that day.”
But these days, there are many more.
“I would say from 300 to 400 every year,” said Bond.
And when you’re cutting over 100 melons in just a few hours, you need a quick way to get the job done.
“The watermelon is wonderful,” said Sam Shillcutt who was at the party for the first time.
“You get to meet new people and you also get to connect with people you don’t see all the time,” added Mary Stone of Oriental. “Everybody’s welcome. The tourists are welcome. Everybody’s welcome.”
“We live in Jekyll Island, Georgia and we’re up here on a boat,” said Shillcutt. “We’ve become part of a family here.”
Family is what it’s all about after all.
“My children have sort of taken over,” said Bond. “I don’t know what I’d do without them.”
“They really exemplify what Oriental is: a community that works together, plays together,” said Stone.
After 48 years, you might think Fay has grown weary. I asked her what her motivation for doing it every year is:
“I’m still living,” said Bond.
This family sure has sliced and chopped their way into the hearts of thousands over the years.