Kate Kisses Summer Goodbye

Kate felt guilty pulling up plants with produce still on them…but she could barely pass off fried green tomatoes to her family let alone frost bitten green tomatoes. Besides, the onset of fireplace season conveniently coincided with the onset of gardening boredom.  The novelty had finally worn off.

This was only Kate’s second gardening attempt of her adult life. Still very naïve about this whole gardening thing, she figured it would provide her with the quiet, meditative time glaringly missing from her daily routine.  That, and put a few fresh vegetables on the dinner table for her kids to whine about.

She envisioned gardening being an almost spiritual experience—silently praying for friends and reflecting on the miracles in nature as she thinned seedlings, picked peppers and poisoned insects.

Except now her children, who typically became invisible or comatose whenever the words, “I need your help.” were spoken; wanted to be super duper hands on helpers. Kate’s garden became, instead of a haven, a hotbed of activity.

The kids gave tours to their friends, the mailman and the meter reader.   They developed a new and intense interest in soil content, the gestation period of eggplant and city watering restrictions. Without being asked, they picked ripe produce. They put out buckets when it rained and used them to water the garden.  Without being asked.  For the love of God, on their own accord, they even pulled weeds.

One day, Kate’s little suburban farmers schlepped into the freshly mopped kitchen with a colander full of lettuce and shoes full of mud.  “Mom, the garden’s watered, fertilized and treated with Sevin dust.   We tied up the tomato plants since they’re growing faster now and according to the Extension Agency, it’s time to plant pumpkin seeds.  Where are they?”

So much for my peaceful garden paradise, Kate lamented, but ended her pity party early when she realized this was finally something she and the kids enjoyed doing together.  Realizing how rare it was to have the three of them agree on a single activity, Kate went out and spent $100 on kids garden gloves, scaled down garden tools, hats, kid safe bug repellent, sunscreen and plant markers.   She came home excited to bond with her children in the sacred soil of the earth.

But then it was too hot to garden.  “The trick is to get out early in the morning when the air is still and the sun is low in the sky.”  They said summer was for sleeping in.

And the bugs were really getting bad.   “I bought you repellent.  Use it.”  They said it smelled funny and made them itch.

Plus it’s hard to get the dirt out from under their fingernails.   “Use the gloves I got you.”  They interfered with their grip.  Besides, all their friends were going to the pool…couldn’t they join them?  Kate conceded and sent them off with the hats and sunscreen….left once again in the solitude of her garden.

Best $100 she ever spent.

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