• 68°

My turn has arrived

The dark, rich soil spilling from the dump truck into my newly built planter causes me delight. I can imagine the wonderful array of herbs and vegetables this black goldmine will produce. The tumultuous events of late have encouraged many to get back to the basics, and I’m excited to be part of a growing number of backyard garden enthusiasts.

My grandparents farmed in Neshoba County, and many of my most interesting and happy childhood memories were made there. “Papaw” grew vegetables for all of his family’s needs with plenty left over to share with neighbors and friends.

All the meat the family needed was also raised on the farm, and I fondly remember searching for eggs. The hens tried to move their nests around every chance they got so it was much like a game of hide and seek. I was skinny and could easily crawl under the house in search of new nesting places never thinking to be afraid a snake might also be looking to snitch an egg or two. But I suppose childlike innocence keeps us from the “what ifs.”

The cows knew exactly when to show up at the barnyard for milking as did my grandfather, and I can still hear him calling to my grandmother.

“Wilsie, bring me the milk bucket!”

With a brood of grandchildren often visiting for days on end, I wonder if this was his excuse to have a moment alone with his sweetheart.

All these poignant memories of yesteryear come floating from the place where happy thoughts reside, and my heart smiles. I know my grandparents would be proud if they could see my little garden, and I think perhaps the farmer blood of generations past just needed a little nudge to resurface. I’ll try to remember these things when the sun burns hot, and the weeds grow tall.

Putting my thoughts on paper usually clears away the cobwebs and gives me perspective, and today is no different. The little girl who scurried under the house with such ease and a sense of adventure still resides inside this grandmother’s heart. When I think of things that could make me shrink back in fear, I’ll remember that faith is what I need, and I’ll choose it.

When I till the soil and plant the seed, I’m choosing faith. When I water, and weed, and nurture my little plot in hopes of a bountiful harvest, I’m choosing faith. Fear would tell me that my little garden is a futile attempt to somehow make sense of our changing world.

But then there is truth. People have faced challenges since the beginning of time; my grandparents faced hardship to give their children and grandchildren a better life. I’m sure the rain didn’t always come on time, and sometimes a crop would fail, but they didn’t throw up their hands in defeat. They plowed the failed crops under and planted new ones. Now, it’s my turn to plant my little garden.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.