Forty years ago, had someone told me that I’d be happily spending all my time working in the garden, I would probably have thought the person to be out of his or her mind.
As a child I spent a lot of time working in the garden. Always involuntarily. Almost always our garden work was done in the late afternoons, after a long hot day of working in my Grandpa’s tobacco fields. From when I was about 7 years old, almost every summer day began at about 4:30 am. After milking the cows and harnessing up the horses, or later bringing up the tractors, we’d have a big breakfast. Then we went to the field, just as the sun was rising, to be ready to start work as soon as it was light enough to see. We’d usually fill a barn by early afternoon. That was when my Mama would send us to the garden to pick. It was always hot and I was always tired. It was definitely not how I wanted to spend my afternoons. I came to hate working in the garden.
At night in the summer, if we wanted to watch TV, we’d have to snap beans or shell peas while doing it.
Of course I now cherish and treasure those memories. I’m grateful for the work ethic I was taught and for my deep love of the land, some of which was in my DNA and some of which came from close contact with it growing up.
And these days there is nothing I’d rather do than go work in the garden.