This I Believe

John - Cookeville, Tennessee
Entered on August 10, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: hope, legacy, nature

I believe in gardening. I grew up in a household where Dad planted 2 huge (to a 10 year old) gardens each year. Beans, corn, okra, strawberries, onions and beloved tomatoes. I can still remember my mother, at lunch, telling me to go out to the garden and pick a couple of ripe tomatoes. That memory of a heavy, red, warm tomato will never leave me. It has turned me into a tomato snob—only love apples with taste for me. I can’t stand those beautiful grocery store ones that taste like cardboard.

So, I believe in gardening. In my adult like, I have tried and failed to replicate the gardens of my youth—even if reduced to fractional status. I now have a 8 x 8 raised bed garden with 2 tomato plants (Big Boy and Better Boy), a few herbs, lettuce and parsley. In the late summer I plant rape and kale seed. My Dad loved kale and my recently passed ninety-four year old friend told me about rape seed (he preferred it to kale and/or turnips).

I also believe in spring. That is why, in the heat of August, I plant rape and kale seed. Although I am no real gardener, I know (because of my Dad and now gone friend) that kale and rape will survive even the most horrible Southern winter in beautiful green. In fact, rape and kale will grow into maturity in the dying fall, providing deed green throughout the cold, snow and short days. Both taste better after the first frost.

I believe in spring by planting these greens on the day my Dad died in 1995 (August 5) and the day we buried him (August 8). By planting these winter greens at this time, I hold out hope of my father’s (and my) evergreen eternal soul.

I believe in spring. I believe in plants that prove there is victory (green) over death (winter). I believe in life after death. I believe I’ll see my Daddy again.