I have many thoughts about gardening and plants. Some make no sense, some stop me in my tracks. Seems most things in my life are tied to plants. From faded memories to callus hands it always seems to lead back to the dirt. I was born into a family of gardeners, not by choice but by need. You didn’t raise a garden or plant tobacco because you didn’t like what was at the grocery store. More that you didn’t have the money to pay for something you could grow with a little sweat and black earth. I came into this world at the end of those times. My parents no longer depended on Mother Nature but more the hours they were given. Still I spent many summers following my grandfather around. The stories he would tell and the reasons he gardened the way he did follow me to this day and for every day from here on.
I learned a lot from that old man and at the time I didn’t even know it. I learned which tomato to pick and which needed another day. Which bug to leave and which bug to get the seven dust after. I didn’t think anything of it then. These where things I was doing just because my grandfather was doing them. Never did I know where it would lead me in this life. These where important things to that old man so in return they became important things to me. Ten year old boys want to do nothing more in life than to stretch wide paces and match their grandfather stride for stride.
I try to think about the best way to explain why I love gardening. For that matter why most of us love to plant and watch things grow. Is it the beauty or is it the memories. For me it’s the hot summer days in the shade, an orange pop and bologna sandwiches. It’s knowing that dark purple blackberries are ready to pick and red ones you leave, and if Nan isn’t looking she might not notice a missing handful. Maybe its knowing that purple fingers leads to fall jams or that you always keep salt in the truck for when you find that perfect tomato that has to eaten right then.
What does any of this have to do with a tackle box and fishing? That same man I wanted so much to match stride for stride had an old tackle box that was filled to the brim. Thousands of sinkers hundreds of hooks and every fishing lure known to man! If ever lost on the water this is the guy you wanted to be lost with. I always wondered why he carried so much to go fishing. Be it big fish or little fish he always carried this large tackle box. I ask once why and the answer was simple. Just because you are going to catch one type of fish doesn’t mean a better tasting fish maybe biting that day. Simple.
Some years later I realized like him and his huge tackle box all these memories where turning into useful knowledge I had be putting into my gardening tackle box. I carry it with me ever where. I may not have to call on the memory of which tomato does best sliced on white bread but that little memory is always there. This tackle has helped me get where I am today. I’ve added to it over the years made my own expectances and added them in the box along with all the others. I cherish every memory some more than others.
I guess we all have are reasons for loving gardening and plants. Each one is different and each one is the same. My tackle box started filling up years ago and that Ten year old boy would never know trying to stretch to match Pa’s pace he would be shaping the rest of his life. I love what I do, I can honestly say I’ve never worked a day in my life. I am a lucky and thankful man.
Better boy and Big beef tomatoes with a touch of salt and pepper goes best on white bread!