DeVos: The root of all evil |

DeVos: The root of all evil

Jon DeVos
Staff Photo |

My wife enjoys gardening and fresh vegetables. She gets all rosy-cheeked while she’s busy planning and making lists and getting all her spring garden things together. She’ll spend hours shuffling pots, umbrellas and objet d’art around the patio like a chess master. It intrigues me to watch her gather sacks of designer dirt and bags of ladybugs and then topping it all off with a surprisingly bossy attitude. Her annual checklist seems to be embedded in her Midwest genetic code.

I’m from Los Angeles and I get dizzy if I stand too close to such unbridled, earthy enthusiasm. Everything I know and understand about gardening and vegetable-raising can be summed up in two sentences: “Hey, I’m heading to the grocery store. Want anything?”

Root vegetables give me pause. I can’t help but visualize them underground, gnawing on a diet of fertilizer. I have yet to meet a turnip I admired, and what unearthly transmogrification turns manure into carrots? This underground thing I have is not to imply that I love sunny vegetables either. Broccoli, difficult to spell correctly, is best served on someone else’s plate.

I should explain; I’m not against the concept of vegetables, for instance I love vegetable-themed movies like “Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering”. That was the best of the franchise movies derived from Stephen King’s short story printed in the March 1977 Penthouse. In the movie, all the town kids start wearing Goth makeup and turn evil. It’s like a high school documentary with creepy waving cornstalks.

What I am against is unasked for and hardly identifiable mulched green particles oozing into the mashed potatoes and wrecking the entre. I positively adore those plates with built-in dividers that prevent undesired oozing. Isolating dinner components allows you to shun vegetables like a money-borrowing relative. Then, when no one is looking, you can drop your napkin on the offending triangle and quickly depart.

Baby vegetables are easy to find, if you travel in fancy restaurants. Tiny carrots, miniature corn, and teensy artichokes are really hot right now but gourmet dining aside, I’m troubled by the thought of eating baby lima beans. I don’t want to have paternal feelings about my side dish. I’m not saying that America would be better off without foreign labor, but I could certainly support exporting all those nasty little sprouts back to Brussels.

It never fails, every summer my wife brings up the same touchy subjects. “If the weather is nice tomorrow maybe you could help me move the potting soil to the back yard.”

“Golly, I’d love to but (long pause as I select a strategy),” uh, unfortunately that doggone tire went flat on the wheelbarrow.”

“Still?” she said, “It was flat last year and the one before … why don’t you get it fixed before it’s overrun by dandelions? And rust. I’m tired of carrying all those bags one-by-one.”

“I suppose that’s possible,” I replied, “but then I’d have a working wheelbarrow standing in direct conflict with a non-working desire to use it. Can’t you see the strain I’m under?”

“You wear it well.”

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