A few weeks ago Kevin and I drove home to attend church with my parents and grandparents for Mother’s Day. We planned on planting the garden that evening, but Dad’s tiller still wasn’t out of the shop. Thankfully, Dad’s pal Buddy’s was.
“We’ve got three options,” Dad said. “I’ll ask Buddy if he wants to sell it, lease it to me, or let me borrow it. But he hasn’t answered his phone yet so we might not get to do anything.”
“There’s a fourth option,” I added.
They still don’t know where they went wrong.
Buddy answered the phone and I didn’t go to jail that day (hey, I was just really hoping to get the garden done!) and Dad used his tiller to go across the same area that Nannie always used for her garden. Mom and Dad haven’t had a garden in quite a few years, so the soil should be pretty good there now.
The day before, my mom and I had bought a number of plants for our little venture. A little over a dozen tomatoes (a few varieties), yellow squash, zucchini, tomatillos, okra, dill, cilantro, jalapenos, cayenne peppers, and a few marigolds for good measure. When we were picking out our plants, we kept saying to each other that we didn’t want to get too many plants because no matter what, Dad was going to think that we were in over our heads.
So, as we’re plotting out the garden that Saturday afternoon, what does Dad say?
“You didn’t get nearly enough tomatoes.”
We can’t win for losing.
Dad and I used the stakes and twine to make very straight, even rows. Symmetry makes me smile. And like a well-oiled machine, Dad and I went up and down the rows, him pulling back the dirt, me placing a plant, and him tucking it snug back into the earth. With dirt under our nails and a thin layer of dust on our faces from the harsh wind that day, we went back inside to a meal my mom had been preparing. Food tastes even better when it feels like you’ve toiled for it.
Kevin and I drove back home that evening, taking a few back roads to look at some homes that were for sale in the area. Now is not the time for us to buy and it won’t be for a while, but it doesn’t stop us from looking. (Psst…if you know someone in the area south of Norman, but north of Elmore City and accessible to I-35 that wants to sell a house or land to a young couple [who'd like to start their family in the country] for cheap, give me a call. We’d make your old homestead a proud place to behold.)
The next day, Mom and Dad headed out to one of our favorite gardening centers, Pick-Of-The-Day, and picked up a few more plants. I don’t know everything they got that day, but I do know our grand total as far as the tomatoes go.
Forty-nine tomato plants. I predict a summer of salsa.