Not only do I Hope You Dance, as the song says, but I hope you garden too.
Because it is part of your heritage, it keeps your hands busy, your attitude humble, and it teaches important life lessons (things don’t always turn out but a new season is right around the corner).
Your grandfather, Papa, was as you know a dry land farmer- the ultimate dice thrower in the face of South Texas heat and drought.
Couple that with the fact that he didn’t believe in crop insurance , and he became our own modern day Don Quixote, tilting successfully at many farming windmills ( which he could build by the way). Most years he won.
When his land came out of the CRP program several years ago, he simply cleared it, and put in a crop .
That was a job easier said that done. His equipment was older, his crew was older, and all 650 acres of El Perdido was covered in brush.
Once his crop came in that year, with my brother’s help on his days off, he cut his grain himself. He was 79 then. I have never seen him happier.
His only comment was that he wished his rows were straighter.
When Papa met his new farming neighbor, a young man putting in his first crop, the neighbor told Papa that he was advised to-
“ do everything the viejo (old man) does.”
We can talk about ways you can begin. When I was your age I plopped a sweet potato in a Bama jelly jar and put it in a window.
Instant gardening. I was so proud.
You may want to try house plants. Here is my theory on house plants- plants weren’t born to live in a house.
This is an enormous subject, and I am just getting warmed up.
Stay tuned for Part II (Grandmother Mills’s cuttings in coffee cans, Nonnie’s green thumb, and your mother’s struggle with a yard that is an acre in size and has archaeological surprises at every turn of the hoe).
I love you,