Older is Gooder

     I was five or six, playing hide-n-seek with my sister at our grandparents house while the grown-ups were knocking back Old Fashions and listening to the Cleveland Indians game on the radio. 
     It was my turn to hide.
     I ventured to the edge of my grandmother Daisy’s (no kidding about the name) flower garden and laid down between a row of gladiolus- and looked up. 
     Church be damned- this was a cathedral.
     I was hooked, and have been gardening ever since.
     Daisy only grew flowers.
     My mother could barley grow anything (a pre-seeded strip of zinnias was the exception to her brown thumb rule).
     I eventually talked my parents into giving me a small block of dirt near the kitchen door (which they generously picketed-in), financing a small start-up fund for soil and spade, and began to sow. I was maybe 13.
     I didn’t grow much- at first. But I read-up on veggies and flowers, and saved my babysitting money. There was always the next year. Right?
     In college I grew herbs (though I didn’t know how to cook with them yet) and a tomato plant or two. 
     Post academia, I began to expand my garden, never dating a man who couldn’t understand my need to dig- if you want me to dig you.
     Enter: my last boyfriend. He was all over it- loved the work- could really sling a shovel- hand picked the hornworms. 
     I married him.
     We have had many (many) gardens together over 30 years.
     Our children (and nieces and nephews) grew up in them, laying down between our rows of gladiolus and Gunnera, tomatoes and turnips.
     Now I watch the next generation plant and fret and get dirt under their nails, 

and once in a while, 
I giggle with contentment as I’m looking up 
from under their flowers. 

‘Back of the Garage’ garden of my wonderful niece, Virginia, and her happy family.
I couldn’t be more happy if she was my own daughter.
Close enough.

Steve built this enclosure with the precision
of an architect- which he is.

Mandatory Zinnias (not from a zip strip)
I still love them so.



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