Sunday, April 19, 2009

Now I get it.

Years ago...four to be exact...we visited Chris' grandparent's in Ohio. They live on 2 acres in a tiny town about an hour outside of Cleveland. It was a wonderful visit...one of our most favorite times. Even the boys will agree that Grandma and Grandpa's house is the best! It's not that the house itself is so special...3 bedrooms, one and a half baths, a basement (which was quite the novelty for us), a kitchen, an eating area and a living room. Small really. But there was just something about it that made it special...the owners I would guess.

At that time I was into gardening...but only flowers. Chris' grandpa had gardened all of his life. HUGE gardens...he grew everything. Then he and Grandma would preserve it..either by canning or freezing. In his prime, Grandpa was diagnosed with MS. And slowly but surely his gardens got smaller and smaller. But he never quit completely. He continued to grow tomatoes and garlic for years so that he and Grandma could can spaghetti sauce. It was famous in their small town...everyone wanted some of Fred's famous sauce.

So when we were out visiting I noticed that Grandpa's garden was full of weeds. I offered to help him by weeding a bit. He took me up on my offer gladly. It was a beautiful morning...and it was a good time. I felt helpful. And he appreciated it.

We stayed two weeks. We caught fireflies. We woke up to a major thunder and lightning storm in the middle of the night. We celebrated Seth's 9th birthday there. We went on a hay ride.What a great time we had. The day before we were leaving I was talking to Grandpa about gardening...hoping to gather some wisdom from someone who'd gardened his whole life, literally. I made the mistake of asking about growing flowers. "Flowers?!" he balked, looking at me like I'd just lost my mind,"What the hell good are flowers? Why would you waste good dirt on something you can't even eat?!"

Hmm. Well...hmmm. Good point. Why would I waste good dirt on silly old flowers? Yes, they are pretty. And nice to look at. But how much better is looking at a blossom on a tomato plant or a cucumber plant knowing that in a few short weeks it will be food? Thanks to Grandpa, my mind made a switch that summer.

Grandpa passed away two years ago this past 15th. We sure do miss him. As I dig in the dirt out back and plant seeds and seedlings I think of him often. How I wish I could just call him up and ask him a question about how close to plant green beans...or what to use to get rid of this pest or that...


I love Grandpa... like he was my own. He was a good man. Funny. Honest. Sarcastic. And kind. He loved his family. And made newcomers like me feel like they'd been a part of the family forever. Grandma and Grandpa's house was home...to all who entered.
And I think he'd approve of the marigolds. Yes, they are a flower. But they have a purpose.
We miss you Grandpa.

4 comments:

Sojourner said...

Grandpas are priceless. Loving them is the easiest thing to do. Learning from them is like water to our souls.

It did me good to hear about yours.

dmoms said...

that was a great story. Your Grandpa was full of wisdom.

now about the Marigolds. I planted Marigolds all through out my garden last year and I swear they kept the bugs away.

Is that what you mean?

Michelle said...

Yes dmoms...that's what I mean. I planted some a couple of weeks ago, too and I think the slugs are eating them! Something is eating them as they are disappearing!

pinkpeppercorns said...

What a touching story.

I tried to start oodles of marigolds. The seeds must be too old, because I don't see sign of a single one. :(