I'm linking up again with Lisa-Jo Baker for 5-Minute Friday. The topic this week is garden. I have to say, I am sure I wrote a little longer than 5 minutes today. But I couldn't stop! I wanted to finish my story! Good memories :)
Picture by of Mandy Paige Photography
My grandpa had a garden. Situated at the bottom of his back yard, it shared a fence with a golf course. Golfers meandered by discussing their plans for the next hole, never noticing my grandpa’s little piece of heaven. Every year he planted tomatoes, asparagus, peppers, zucchini, green beans, okra, and cucumbers. Tomatoes were his favorite to grow. Every year he grew so many tomatoes, he had to give them away to our family, my uncles and aunts, his friends, and his neighbors so they wouldn't go to waste. My grandpa didn't even eat tomatoes that often. He always said they were not his favorite. He was more of a meat and potatoes kind of man. He grew them because gardening was his passion.
My grandpa owned a bakery before I was born. When I was young and first heard this, I couldn’t believe it. My grandpa, a baker? My mom told me stories of how he used to let her invite her friends over to make salt water taffy in the kitchen. She remembers pulling and pulling the long, sticky mess until he said it was ready to eat. He knew what he was doing. He baked pies, cookies, rolls, and cakes. Growing up, I don’t have memories of my grandpa baking things, but I sure do have memories of his garden.
I remember my grandma canning Grandpa's fresh and delicious green beans for winter. She used to cook them with a ham hock. They were that perfect mixture of saltiness and smoky goodness--one of my favorites of all time. My grandma used his fresh tomatoes to make her homemade salsa. It was a tad sweet, not like the normal salsa I eat today. It had a hint of nutmeg mixed in. It made me feel warm and fuzzy inside when I ate it. Every time a chip went in my mouth, I did a little happy dance. My mouth waters for that salsa.
My grandpa’s tomatoes were the best. He always grew them big and juicy. They were dark, red and perfect just by themselves. My dad always ate them with a little bit of salt shaken on top. He could eat them straight up like an apple. But mostly my dad and I would slice three or four tomatoes up on a plate, shake a little salt on top, and eat them like they were candy. We ate so many tomatoes during the summer that our lips would tingle when the acidity from the tomatoes got to be too much, eating one after another after another. Our mouths would water when grandpa called to tell us he had more tomatoes waiting for us.
Even when my grandpa had a stroke and heart trouble, you could find him down in the garden staking tomatoes with his oxygen tank lying on the ground next to him. He was no longer a baker, but by gosh, nothing was going to stop him from gardening. Even after his daughter (my mother, who is a nure) gave him what-for about driving stakes into the ground while wearing an oxygen tank and having a heart condition, he didn't care. He still tended to his garden and supplied us with tomatoes until he wasn't physically able to anymore.
I miss his garden so much. Writing this hurts my heart a little. Even though my grandpa’s garden is no longer here, I still have these memories of his love and passion for this art that he perfected. It means so much that he shared love with me. I know he’s growing tomatoes up in heqaven for my dad and my grandma. I hope they save some for me.
Love and happiness <3 Holly
Love and happiness <3 Holly