Momma and I went to the mail box. Our mail box was a large rural box that held lots of mail. She took out the newspaper. There was not a paper delivery person so the Richmond Times Dispatch came by mail. Putting her hand in the box again, she found several letters from family members and, out it came. The seed catalog with the beautiful vegetables and a picture of a bearded man on the cover. Momma, smiling said, "This is the one we were waiting for."
Trotting along behind her and kicking every rock I could find, I was thinking Momma will read the newspaper and letters, I can look at the pretty book of vegetables. I went from cover to cover because the inside was black and white with lots of words and drawings.
After supper, Daddy sat down with me, picked up my wonderful new book. He read it like a story. This year we will plant tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes and our garden grew larger and larger. I asked, "What about watermelons, cantaloupes and corn." Daddy looked at me, shaking his head no, smiling he said, "Maybe next year." " NO! NO! NO! WE HAVE TO PLANT THEM!!! I love watermelons." He just laughed out loud and said, "So do I."
A few nights later, Daddy pencil in hand was writing on the funny sheet with lines and boxes from my pretty book. He gave Momma the mail and the next morning we carried it to the mailbox. After what must have been years but really was only a week or so, Momma let me carry the most wonderful package from the mailbox. OUR GARDEN SEEDS, Momma opened the package of seeds checking to see if everything came. "Momma , are there any watermelon seeds?" She smiled at me and said, "Yes, we have them, Daddy was playing with you, he could never plant a garden that did not have melons and corn. What would you eat all summer?"
Today, before Thanksgiving the seed houses start sending out their information. I find myself waiting for the day Mr. Bootsie calls out as he brings in the mail, "The R. H. Shumway's Illustrated Garden Guide is here." I do not care what I am doing, I stop because Daddy and I need to start planning this year's garden. As I flip the pages, just like the ones I remember from so very long ago, a voice is saying, "Plant watermelons, cantaloupes and do you remember all the other seeds I planted?" "Yes sir, I have the list."
Momma and Daddy shared with me the pleasure of having a garden. They are no longer here to take part in the hard work or reap the rewards. My gift was the knowledge they taught me. I learned from them to take care of the land and it will take care of you. Feed the soil, keep the weeds pulled and hoe, hoe, hoe. I do enjoy taking care of my garden and
I will never forget Daddy reading me the vegetable story.