Bob can only dream of fresh produce

Bob can only dream of fresh produce by Bob Karolevitz The springtime juices are flowing once more!

Again I linger at the seed racks in the hardware store, making a list of what I'll plant when the soil reaches the right temperature.

I pause at the potato bin there, trying to decide if I'll have white ones or red ones this year. Maybe I should have both? One thing is certain: I better make up my mind soon if I'm going to have 'em in the ground by Good Friday.

My mouth waters as I think of those home-grown succulent tomatoes which I can hardly wait to harvest.

I can almost taste the fresh peas which I pluck from the vine each time I visit the patch.

I'll plant zucchini, too, even though we no longer have chickens to eat the big ones which seem to grow to watermelon size when I'm not looking.

The agronomical reverie went on and on � until at last Phyllis burst my bubble!

"We're not going to have a garden this year," she announced matter-of-factly. "I'm tired of taking over after you start so enthusiastically. Then the weeds come; so do the bugs, and you disappear."

Of course, I challenged that decision, but my pleading fell on deaf ears.

With one seemingly casual remark, she had destroyed my dream. The seed catalogs � with their colorful pictures luring me on � were no longer useful. I could quit reading the Extension bulletins, too.

"What will we do with the rototiller?" I wanted to know, with a tear in my eye.

"We can sell it and buy something practical," she said, hardly noticing my emotional state.

Several years ago I had moved the garden plot nearer to the house, assuming that would please her. But � I found out later � she didn't like the new location where the falling-down machine shed once stood.

I'll admit we dug up old bolts, bent nails and rusted washers each time we tilled, but they gave substance to the soil, I argued.

"Huh!" she harrumphed. "It's dead earth, and no wonder the cucumber vines always dried up, and the radishes never amounted to anything."

"Everybody can raise radishes," she went on, "but you never even got your seed back. I can buy a hundred bunches of good ones from Hy-Vee for what you've invested, not counting the time it took to plant the danged things."

She really knows how to hurt a guy.

And so the end of an era has come, like when we got rid of the chickens � which she didn't appreciate either. (I never said a thing when she sold her beloved sheep.)

I suppose I'll get over it, but when the next springtime comes, something obviously will be missing. There'll be no garden to plan and to plant, and what will I do with all my spare time?

Oh, I could go to the rocking chair and do crossword puzzles instead of paging through those wonderful catalogs with their bountiful results (which Phyllis says I never get).

Or maybe I should take up marbles again?

© 2004 Robert F. Karolevitz

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