Jon de Vos: Why does your garden grow?
May 27, 2011
At dinner the other night my wife casually mentioned that she intended to cut back on the gardening this year. I shook my head in disbelief, even as the words still hung in the air.
I reeled around the room, finally landing horizontal on the couch. The TV remote control leapt into my hand like the good boy he is, and I augered in for the afternoon.
I was right in that glorious scene in the 1923 Hunchback of Notre Dame when Quasimodo has rescued Esmeralda and they’re running … well, actually they’re shuffling … through that magnificent cathedral, when something really scary happened. My wife snapped off the TV and handed me a list of things to do in the backyard.
I stared at it in dismay. “I … I thought you were cutting back,” I offered weakly.
“I am cutting back,” she replied, “You, on the other hand, are getting up to move those bags of fertilizer out of the back of my car and spread them evenly over the garden.”
I become a cranky 2-year old, “I hate your stupid garden, oops!” then I clap my hands over my mouth. I realize what I’ve done and quickly move to make peace, “But you can sit here and watch my movie with me.” The sniveling in my voice makes the dog embarrassed to look at me.
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Am I the only one who understands the dangers of gardening?
A Florida woman was badly frightened by an 8-foot hooded cobra that reared up behind her in the magnolias. It had escaped from a nearby neighbor who was raising 40 of them in his living room and milking them for the venom to sell to a pharmaceutical company.
The point is that, if she had not been gardening, she would not have been bent over offering her posterior to any snake in the grass who passed by.
Gardens are simply unsafe places. Stepping squarely on a misplaced hoe can turn you into the first vegetable to be harvested. But don’t just listen to me, it’s in the news all the time.
Recently an English gentleman was laboring in his garden on a London afternoon when a meteorite smacked through his prized hawthorn trees and buried itself like an alien Burpee seed inches from his foot. I showed the article to my wife.
“See?” I said with a solemn nod. She glared at me menacingly for a few moments before stomping off with some unnecessarily hurtful words and a whole lot of muttering.
She thinks she’s making me a better person by keeping me focused, lest I were to fritter my life away watching cheap movies on a stolen big screen in a run-down double-wide in Tupelo. In exchange for this thoughtful service, I become her personal garden weasel, in charge of manure distribution.
You wouldn’t sprinkle manure on your cereal, but nobody hesitates to eat cauliflower that grows up in it.
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