These pictures kind of sum up my gardening skill. Angel of death in my garden, yep!!
First, let me say that I know that most people describe their gardening skill as a “Green” thumb. My thumb, however, is BLACK. I can kill any plant in less that a week! I thought I had kept a Poinsettia alive for almost a year. Then I found out the night janitor was taking care of it. Well, I thought I was doing good. But he was doing better!
My parents had gone to Germany to visit my oldest brother Ronald. They were there for 6 weeks. My Mom’s parting words were “Weed the strawberries while we are gone.” She should have saved her breath. I was all of 16 and not only did they leave the strawberries in my charge, but also a Chevy Suburban which was for EMERGENCIES ONLY. Well, it is AMAZING how many emergencies happen in that six weeks. OH, out of milk…. I will go to the store, it’s an emergency!! I am late for school, it’s an emergency – I have to go to school, right? I think you get the picture.
About a week before they were due to return my Mom’s words sank in. Strawberries…weed and water. If your math is anything like mine this means that Mom’s poor strawberries were unwatered, unweeded and unhealthy! So I put on my shorts and tank top. This was the 70’s tan was still in. As I am kneeling by the strawberry patch just pulling all that looked like weeds. They were somewhat yellow so I thought they would be easier to pull if I watered them first. I did and then got to pulling in earnest. Head down, talking to myself (Habit learned young still do!) deciding which ones were the weeds and which ones were the fruit. I am just having a great time. I was GARDENING! The family that lived behind us had a huge garden every year, I mean tilling the soil, putting horse poop and everything. So when Hershel came up to the fence and asked me “Chrissy, what are you doing?” I was a little hurt. Couldn’t he tell I was gardening! Looking at him I put in my best “what do you mean?” tone in my voice and said PROUDLY “I’m WEEDING!” Thinking that if he knew what I was doing he could at least acknowledge my expertise. Now one of the things you have to understand is that he always had a beer. So I put it down to the fact that he might be just a little tipsy. But surely when I told him he would be able to see it right? Well did see it, but not the way I wanted. His laugh could be heard from a mile around I think. I was wounded to the core. “Chrissy what you are doing is pulling up your Mother’s strawberries!” well they looked like weeks?!?
Hershel came through the gate and kneeled beside me and said “I think we can save some of them. Get me a trowel and put the hose on the one that you have already pulled out.” I was devastated. All of my hard work (I was only about 16 remember!) had been wasted. He tried to save some and his wife came along and said asked what we were doing covered in water and dirt. Hershel put is quite bluntly: “We are trying to save Chrissy’s ASS” She laughed and came and tried to help. I have to say the sunburn I got that day was nothing compared to the screaming I was in for when Mom and Dad got back. I know the neighbors would spill the beans. I decided to fess up first, at least they couldn’t get mad at me for that right? WRONG, Mom went flying out the back door and surveyed her strawberries – well what was left of them in between all the weeds. I gave up and decided that since I was not able to tell one from the other I had better leave it to Mom’s capable hands. The fact that I was sunburned and tired to DEATH of dirt made the decision a little easier.
We saved about half of the strawberries. Now come the mileage check on the Chevy Suburban, but that is another story….