Others like to garden; I'd rather be a slug
Gardening is going on all around me. Wherever you look, people are tilling, planting, weeding, watering and doing whatever else gardening entails. I wouldn't know what that is because I have never gardened. The urge that comes over other people t...
Gardening is going on all around me. Wherever you look, people are tilling, planting, weeding, watering and doing whatever else gardening entails.
I wouldn't know what that is because I have never gardened. The urge that comes over other people to get out in the yard and plant flowers or vegetables at the first sign of spring never comes over me.
I do respect gardening. Family lore has it that my paternal grandfather had the finest vegetable garden in the history of gardening near the Duluth ore docks 100 years ago. Nobody gardens near the Duluth ore docks anymore, I notice. It's a truck center now, all paved over, not a truck garden.
When I was a child, my father bought a piece of land in rural Hermantown (we lived in town) and put in a large vegetable garden -- potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, carrots, beets and others I can't recall or don't know about.
So gardening is in my blood, but it never spills out.
The other day at the supermarket I saw a woman in Capri pants analyzing a large display of seeds, grabbing a packet here, a packet there, apparently planning to go home and put them in the ground. Part of my problem with gardening is that I don't really believe that you can take one of these little seeds, stick it in a hole in the ground and have it actually grow.
Oh, I know they will, if you water them and nurture them, but never having done it, I'd have to see it to believe it. I have been known to have lawns die right before my eyes in the yards of homes where me and my family have lived.
When forced to, I've taken care of lawns, which, for me, meant mowing them. Last time a lawn died on me was when we hired a lawn service. Go figure. Then they offered to bring it back to life -- for a fee. We moved instead.
I have friends with beautiful lawns and gardens. They work hard to keep them up, which is a healthy pastime, everybody says.
One time years ago, when hypochondria had taken over all sense of reason, the doctor checked me out, declared me healthy and told me to start gardening and I'd feel better. Maybe my blood tests showed I had all that gardening in my blood.
But I couldn't take it up. I had inherited garden tools that my father had used on our land in Hermantown -- such as a potato digger -- so that wasn't a barrier. I was living in a home with a nice garden plot that some previous owner had cultivated and that I had let go to seed. But I couldn't bring myself to plant a garden.
A couple of weeks ago I was dragged to the farmer's market on a chilly, gray morning and I felt like an old commie in a room full of Cold War Republicans (metaphorically, of course). Here were these good, friendly people with a strong commitment to the land, to nature and its wonderful bounty, and there was I, a traitor in their midst, getting hungry for a good inorganic lunch at some greasy fast-food outlet.
What a slug.
E-mail Jim Heffernan at email@example.com . For previous columns, go to duluthnewstribune.com.