Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Children and Gardening

You want to know what happened when I tried to include my

family in my gardening project? Nothing, that is what happened.

They would not have anything to do with it. It was Mommy's

stupid thing to do alone. Of course, the few cherry tomatoes we

had from it were fought over but essentially, it was Mommy's

stupid thing and it's that way because it doesn't look good.

The garden looks abandoned.
Last summer, however, it was different.
People were stopping their cars to take a look. A watermelon

was stolen. I felt good about myself. I didn't feel guilty,

like now.
Following in the footsteps of my parents, I planted fruits and

veggies. I failed to realize how much space vining fruits and

veggies like Pumpkin and Watermelon, would take up. I had such

a small plot of land. It really didn't qualify as plot or land

because it was just a bare patch in the grass where it was too

shady to grow. I turned it into a garden.
The garden was a spectacle-that's why people were stopping and

staring.
The vines of a Pumpkin are very thick. The leaves are

huge-bigger than you hand. Neighbors would stop to chat to see

if they could get me to give them some of my sweet winter

collard greens. They figured I, an African-American female,

would grow something like that. (You know we all know how to

cook soul food and yes, these were other Black folk I was

talking to) They would advise me that the space was too small

for something like Pumpkin or Watermelon and we would stand and

stare at the garden in silence.
Looks of worry and disappointment would criss-cross their face

as we stood in the hot sun discussing the properties of

Pumpkin.
"They use it in spa treatments. I saw it once at a spa in the

North Loop," I would say.
Only a minute or so would go by before I set them straight.

They walked away knowing that they weren't getting any pumpkin

pie out of me.
It is sad that I, a decedent of Sharecroppers, would have such

a blue thumb.
That is why I thought if Mother can do it then so can I-but I

can't-not well anyway.
My 9-year-old boy helped me pick tomatoes for a salad once or

twice. Once he went out there alone to do it.
My autistic daughter,16, would have no part of the mini

harvests.
Maybe next year.
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