Looked it up and as usual the old man is right.
The fruits aren't poisonous, but they aren't edible either. Birds seem to enjoy them. Balsam gourd is associated with Texas Persimmon and other bushy shrubs of Central and South Texas. Balsam gourd requires very little maintenance.Oct 22, 2019
TOXIC ONLY IF LARGE QUANTITIES EATEN. Ripe fruits, fruit coats, and seeds cause headache, salivation, facial redness, pupil dilation, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscular weakness.