Saturday, August 9, 2008


John thought having a garden would be nice. He didn't think working in a garden would be fun, but having one would be great. It would alleviate some of the effects of living in the suburbs. Even then we had visions of country life, but raising three boys in a small home in Southern California wasn't farming. Even potted plants were afraid of me.

My parents were military nomads. Our flowers were framed on the wall, and our vegetables were either in the crisper, on the table, or still at the grocery store. If John wanted a garden, he'd have to tend it himself, and I made that perfectly clear. No problem. 

There is only one food that I have no excuse except distaste for not eating. I won't even eat it to be polite. Don't put it anywhere near me unless you want to hear loud gagging sounds. If you know me, you're aware that I'm referring to watermelon. That was the first thing he suggested for the garden. I got one veto. That was it. Anything but that. John decided to go for zucchini. 

Being a Texas boy, John grew up on fried green tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini. He planted all three and more, but Southern California is a desert. I watered. He watered. The boys watered. The only things that came up were the fattest looking zucchini I had ever seen. They crowded out everything else he had planted. They jumped rows. 

"I didn't plant them over there," he would yell, hacking with the hoe he bought at the hardware store. 

They kept springing up. Soon the side yard was filled with plump, alien sqash. They had large seeds, unlike the zucchini I had purchased in the supermarket when he taught me to fry them. He really didn't know how it was done, but we figured it out. (Not as good as his mom's, but good enough.)

I made zucchini bread. I fried it. I baked it. We had zucchini with marinara sauce. We gave it away after church. My friends all got some. My sister and mother each got some. Then we went camping, deserting John's little garden.

A week later we returned, and the boys ran out in the yard. They returned after we had unloaded the car. They weren't dumb, after all. 

"Guess what, Mama. All Daddy's squashes turned into pumpkins while we were gone!" 

Sure enough, those fat little green zucchinis had continued to fatten up and ripen. They lost their green color, and turned a beautiful orange. At last we understood why they were all so fat.

John's never mentioned having a garden again.

No comments: