Have you ever disliked something as a youth and discovered as an adult that it was pretty cool after all?
That was gardening for me. As farmers, we gardened a lot. And canned or froze the produce. I remember at least an acre of sweet corn, wonderful in small quantities to husk for dinner. Not so wonderful when shuffling through the cutting leaves to pick buckets full of ears that were then husked, had the silks removed, boiled and then shaved off the cob (even created a device with a blade inserted in a wooden board to do so efficiently) before bagging up to take cookie sheets full of bags to the freezer.
It was the same with tomatoes. For some reason, 500 plants stick in my mind as having supported the small truck garden we had and the number of jars of produce my mom put up. For a time as a youth, I got interested in soap operas, as that was what was on as we snapped 5 gallon buckets of beans and podded peas.
Of course, I enjoyed what came out of the jar or freezer when it made its way back to the kitchen table, but that wasn’t what I was thinking of when I was planting, or hoeing, or picking, or podding or carrying jars and bags to the basement.
So I didn’t garden for years. But after a few years, or maybe a few decades, I missed it. And started again small, then biggering, and biggering (I know that’s not a word), until now we have two garden plots. Working in the garden and enjoying its bounty are some of the things I look forward to come spring and summer.
Have I grown wiser as I aged to return to something I didn’t enjoy as a youth? Or just hungry for fresh food and memories of working together with the family and for the family that were actually pretty decent after all?