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Dad in the garden

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Happy Father’s Day!

I got my love of gardening from my father. I lived in several childhood homes, and in each yard my dad carved out a large vegetable garden plot. Our job as children was to weed the rows of corn, peas, beets, tomatoes, carrots and beans. Growing up I never saw a yellow pear tomato anywhere but at home, which made them special. I plant them still. We also had strawberries, raspberries and apricot and peach trees. One of my earliest memories is of my baby brother scampering through the garden in his PJs and throwing green fallen peaches like the fuzzy tennis balls they resembled.

Naturally we had zucchini in profusion. One evening when I was about 8 my father laughed during his evening newspaper reading ritual. He called my mother in from the other room so he could read out loud from his recliner. It was an article — a humor column, I think now — about the art of delivering zucchini by stealth to unsuspecting neighbors. My parents chuckled. I was more concerned: how did the newspaper find out about us?

Gardening was easy for my dad. Then we moved into a new area surrounded by beautiful woods. Like all the homes before, my dad built a big garden box. The deer loved it. So my dad built a fence around the garden. The deer got a bit more jumping exercise before eating, that was all. Never had my father’s green thumb been so challenged! Finally my dad decided to put a net over the garden. But this was no ordinary net, oh no. Instead of buying a net, my dad MADE one out of a big spool of string, channeling his frustration at those deer into every single knot. It worked!

Today my dad is in yet another home with a new garden plot, this time back in his home town. I love to visit … because I love this gardener.

What memories do you have of your father or grandfather in the garden?


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