Those lyrics from this song went through my head as I put this little guy in his place. And then I remembered how much we loved this song in 1980, perhaps because it’s so mimickable. We sang it to each other a lot. I watch the video now, and the song seems to draaaaaaag along. Well, we were 15 that year and had all the time in the world, and we minded not the draggy songs.
I turned on the hose in the back and went to the front yard, where the potatoes are thriving. In only 4 weeks, some of the plants are already 12″ tall, so I hilled them. The UPS guy, in brown shorts that show off the fascinating tattoo running up the meat of his calf, stopped to ask, “What are you growing?” He seemed astonished when I told him, and had been walking toward me but took a step back, and then he said, “Hey, any fruits and vegetables are good, right? Well, except asparagus.” (I happen to agree that asparagus, which I will eat, is over-rated unless garlicked, roasted, and salted.) I confessed my worry that so far the results of my farming experiment are exceeding my hopes: “I might end up with one hundred pounds of potatoes, even more. How will we eat so many potatoes?” He responded by rattling off a list of all the ways potatoes can be prepared, ending with “leftover potatoes, hash browned.”
Even though we Americans normally plant our vegetables in a back garden, the good thing about gardening in the front is that people stop to talk. A woman in a nice black car parked along the curb to go to the temple across the street. I don’t know her, but I recognized her as my friend/neighbor Julie’s friend. She was as interested in my experiment as the UPS guy was, and remarked how satisfying it is when something grows. I said, “It’s amazing,” and then I checked myself: “Well, perhaps it is not amazing.” Lovely and well-groomed, she surprised me when she forcefully replied, “It is amazing. I mean, I’ve grown things myself. Tomatoes, cantaloupes…” In the air and with her hands she held the shape and weight of a cantaloupe, as if she was remembering the growing and picking of it.
While it is wonderful to grow anything ornamental — daisies, hydrangea, impatiens, and sunflowers — there really is something different, and I can’t quite yet put my finger on it, about growing food.