Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has dual degrees in music from Ohio State University.

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They say what goes around, comes around?  It’s actually true, especially with family, when you consider the photos on this page and the story behind them.

The photo at the top of this page is a true family heirloom.

It’s my paternal grandfather, N.D. Fulks, of Scottown, Ohio, in his melon patch, circa 1965.  It was taken by a photographer for the Herald-Dispatch newspaper (Huntington, West Virginia), and it’s one that pretty much depicts most of the admirable traits the man.

Grandpa operated a dairy farm for most of his adult married life, had nine boys to help him run it, and for fun…he loved to do truck farming – raising cantaloupes and watermelons that he’d sell from a big pile in his front yard as people traveled up and down Ohio route 218.

When this photo ran in the Dispatch I was about 13 years old, and I remember that it brought people across the Ohio River from Huntington, over the hill back of Proctorville, and on to 218 – people who wanted to buy some of those melons.  He’d sell a few, give some away, and mostly…he just loved to talk to those who stopped.

Of course, Grandpa taught my dad how to garden and that was a big part of our family life when I was at home.  My dad loved his garden – beans, potatoes, corn, and yes, melons, but never with the success or scope like his dad did.

I found this photo last winter and stuck it away in my desk drawer.  Because you know…there’s nothing more popular locally in the summer than people selling what they call ‘Indiana’ melons on the side of the road.  I called the Harris Seed Company, in Rochester, New York, and asked them, “What are Indiana melons?”  – those big, juicy,  8 and 10 pound balls of can’t help yourself.

They told me and I ordered a quarter pound of the seed, deciding that I wanted to re-create the picture taken in 1965.  Exactly 82 days after planting, in May, they began to ripen last week…and Saturday afternoon I did the best I could in terms of a tribute to that old photo.

Owing to science, back in his day people said that Grandpa Fulks always had the biggest and sweetest melons around.  But 55 years later they’re half the size of the melons cultivars that are available now.

I think he’d be proud.  And I’m sure I’ll hear from a few family members who have their own copy of that old photo.  They say that what goes around, comes around?  Well consider that when the original photo was made N.D. Fulks was probably five years older than I am presently.  I look at it and smile…and wish I had a hat like the one he’s wearing.

Call it…the blessing (and curse) of time.

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