During the days leading up to my Granny's birthday I wondered… what on earth do you get for a 75 year old? How do you mark an occasion like that? What could you possibly wrap up that would say enough, mean enough?
Granny’s Birthday Garden
I had tried on at least a dozen gift ideas and not one of them felt right. And then it finally hit me. We would do something for her, something that she's told me that she's "been meaning to do" for a long long time. We'd help her put in a vegetable garden.
I knew that if we could get her started, my aunts would help her tend it. And it would be good for her to have a reason to get outside and work some each day. Plus, with a little luck, a garden will give all of us lots of yummy things to eat.
So with big plans, we made the long drive to Granny's house.
Just as soon as we got there, we got to work. We dug and dug. We had blisters on our hands and dirt under our nails. We drank tea in the shade when we could dig no more and then we headed to town for the plants.
In the end, we put in a 12X12 ft. plot. We filled it with 18 tomato plants, 9 squash, 9 zucchini, 3 kinds of peppers, some herbs and a boatload of onions.
But the numbers don't really do it justice.
How can I begin to tell you what it meant to work, side by side, four generations – my granny, my aunts, me and my boys?
We all told stories. We remembered other gardens, other springs. We taught my boys how to properly use a hoe, how to make rows, and we gave the littlest a job that once was mine – walking the trenches to tamp them down.
We joked that if the garden grows and the economy keeps on this downward slide, we could set up a roadside vegetable stand. Cute kid faces can sell lemonade, why not produce?
My granny was so moved by our gift. My boys were so proud. And me – I was just filled up. I was glad to be there with aching hands and stiff legs and the knowledge that one day my men will turn over a spade of dirt and the smell of it will take them right back to this day. All over again they will be boys, red dirt between their toes and pines towering overhead, surrounded by love.
I don't know if our garden will grow. I hope so. I hope that we'll be sitting on Granny's porch eating tomato sandwiches soon.
But even if those plants don't produce any veggies at all… we have harvested so much.