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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Green (10/22/09)

TITLE: Garden Fresh Memories
By Mary Lou Cook


On a seven acre farm grew a typical family garden much like any other found in someoneís back yard. There were the usual vegetables, long rows of tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, green beans, onions, okra, cabbage, and cucumbers. Across the back edge of the garden grew three rows of tall green stalks covered in silky ears of corn. On the north edge grew a small apple orchard. During the summer the tree branches held green apples that by early fall would turn to a bright red. On the south edge hidden under alfalfa straw were clusters of plants, underneath the dirt potatoes grew from the roots. Surrounding the garden was a tall wire fence to keep out rabbits and deer. For a typical family garden there was something that made it stand out from the others. Four generations of great grandparents, grandparents, parents, and grandchildren worked in the garden growing vegetables and making memories.

With a deep affection, the family called the great grandparents Granny and Granny Slim. Granny with snow white hair always wore a smile. Granny Slim was over six feet tall and very thin. There was James, age six and Dena, age three, both grandchildren had light blond hair. The garden became a special place for the children to share with their great grandparents. The elderly couple taught their great grandchildren how to care for the vegetable plants that grew in the garden.

There was a family rule.....you didnít work in the garden, you didnít eat out of the garden. So in the summer evenings all the family would be found working together. The grandfather, the owner of the small farm, and the father, his son-in-law, would take turns rototilling the large garden. Between the many rows of vegetables the cumbersome rototiller would pull its driver along. The machine turned over the dark soil and uprooted the unfailing weeds.

In the far corner of the garden, crawling on hands and knees, Granny and Dena pulled the persistent weeds growing in among the green peppers. With their heads close together, sharing special secrets, the gentle wind would mix Grannyís fine white hair with Denaís baby blond curls. Down the row of green beans Granny Slimís wrinkled hands would pull back the thick green leaves so the beans could be found. Jamesí small hands would pick, dropping a handful of beans at a time into the plastic dishpan by his feet.

The middle-aged grandmother and the young mother would pick a variety of vegetables. When their wicker baskets were full the two women would head toward the little house that sat in front of the garden. In the kitchen they would clean, peel, and chop the fresh vegetables they had picked. With the soup pot full of potatoes, onions, peppers, green beans, okra, and tomatoes simmering slow on the stove, mother and daughter would hurry back to the garden to finish their chores.

When it started to get dark the family would put away the garden tools and gather up the overabundance of vegetables. Together, they would walk to the little house knowing supper would be waiting. At the door the family would be met by the smell of hot vegetable soup. The delicious aroma made the family realize how hungry they were.

Hurrying to get washed up for supper, the family would gather around the kitchen table. A pot of hot vegetable soup with a box of saltines, napkins, spoons, and bowls sat on the table. Before eating the meal the family would bow their heads for the blessings from the gardenís bounty. Surrounded by the darkness of the night the small kitchen seemed to bring them closer together. Around the table the talk and the laughter the family shared would turn the typical garden into something special.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Dan Blankenship 10/29/09
I don't have a green thumb, but all of my relatives do. LOL, I would have starved to death in the fmaily portrayed here. Maybe not, I'm sure someone would crack and throw me some veggies.


May God bless!

Dan Blankenship
Lisa Keck10/29/09
This made me hungry. I'll be using canned veggy soup in my meatloaf tonight but after reading this I doubt I'll be satisfied. Thank you to any local farmers out there. This family had a great work ethic and closeness that sadly seems to belong to yesteryear. Well written. Keep up the good work, in the garden and at the keyboard.
Laura Manley10/31/09
Wouldn't it be nice in the world we live in today, to have families such as you describe in this very nicely written story. There really is only one negative I would mention, only because I have this trouble myself. In the first paragraph, you begin at least three sentences with "On the." I find in my own writing that I need to constantly be aware that I am being repetitious. Good writing! Laura
Mary Lou Cook10/31/09
Thanks to everyone for your comments. Laura, thanks for your advice. This story goes back to the seventies about my own family. Back then I was the young mother, now I'm the grandmother.
Colin Swann11/02/09
What a thoroughly interesting and substantial story. Loved the nostalaga of a lovely family working together on the land. Great! Colin
Joy Faire Stewart11/03/09
Having grown up on a farm, I could relate to this family. Enjoyed the writing style.