Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
as long as I can remember, daddy always wanted a vegetable garden, a
place to grow his own produce. There were a few attempts with this in
mind, but the weeds were very determined and his efforts never yielded
much more than a few tomatoes. Eventually, life and work took over,
and attempts were given up.
I was grown and married by the time mom and dad bought a house on the
edge of town with a large empty lot out behind the garage. At last
daddy had a place to grow his garden. He studied the seed catalogs
that came in the mail and pondered about what he would plant.
Daddy had an old rusty tiller that someone gave him. He piddled with
the motor to keep it running. In the spring daddy would plow the earth
and get it ready for planting. The garden he planted was far too large
for his needs, but he was not actually growing it for the food. He was
growing it because he loved to work outside, to smell the fresh earth,
and to see the seeds grow into plants and mature.
The garden was a place where you could nearly always find daddy on the
weekends or when he was not at work. When I would visit, he would show
the grandchildren his garden and the things that were growing. If
there were any ripe tomatoes, he might even let the kids pick a few.
Daddy liked to grow a variety of things. That way if one vegetable
failed or was eaten by the garden pests, he had other things to tend.
In early spring he planted lettuce and green onions; later he would
plant tomatoes and pepper plants, potatoes, beets, turnip greens, and
green beans. He grew cucumbers for pickles, and squash and okra that
mother would roll in cornmeal and fry in her iron skillet. Daddy
didn't grow corn because it took too much room and because the crows
always ate it anyhow.
During the summer, you could never visit without dad telling mom,
"Hon, give her some of those tomatoes to take home." Daddy
always grew far more than they could possibly eat, even though mother
would freeze green beans, and anything else that could be frozen, and
put it in the big freezer in the utility room. If it couldn't be
frozen, it could probably be pickled or canned in a mason jar.
Surplus produce was given to neighbors, friends, relatives,
acquaintances, strangers or anyone else that wanted it. Later, the
garden's bounty was taken to the senior citizen center and where
seniors waited like vultures to see what dad would bring next. It
pleased him to be able to give away the fruits of his labor.
When the rabbits came to sample the garden, daddy built an old wooden
fence out of scrap lumber to keep them out. The rabbits probably
rolled over laughing at it and hopped through a crack but there was
enough for the rabbits and everyone else he knew anyhow.
It must have been a lot of work to tend a garden so large, but daddy
did it year after year until he became too old to work in the garden
any more. The garden became smaller each year and finally was given up
entirely. The last time I saw the garden, grass grew over the spot and
there was no sign that a garden had ever been there. Funny, how the
patch of land looked so much smaller than it did when daddy had a
Now daddy's garden is only a memory and has returned to the earth that
it came from. I can still see it in my mind just as it was when it was
alive and thriving. And, as long as anyone remembers it, the garden
will never die.
Copyright 2013 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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