This Week’s Picture: Cucumbers are sprouting.
2016 Garden Status:
I have 7 to 8 cucumbers sprouting now! Looks like cucumbers are going to be the only vegetables that I may end up with this year. Let’s see how they will do over the next week or so.
1966 Garden Status and Childhood Story
I think back to 1966. That was 50 years ago. I was 10 years old. It was the year that I planted my first garden. As I think back on that garden, the only vegetables that made it were my cucumbers. My tomatos, my squash, my green beans never made. My garden yield was very low. I learned a lot about conditioning the soil prior to planting the garden. My cumcumber sprouts showed up in late May and grew at a steady rate. There were only a few days left before the summer break and I was looking forward to a summer of adventure.
My First Snake Kill
June came. The fist Saturday after school finally let out found me heading up the one mile hill to fetch water from the spring. It was 10:00 A.M. and it was hot already. As I think about it now, I am sure that it was 85 degrees. I treaded up the hill with my wagon, looking ahead at the top of the ridge while pulling my wagon. I happended to look down and there it was. A medium size black snake. I’m sure that it was not a racer, otherwise it would have taken off faster than I could blink an eye. It was frozen. I was frozen. I still remembered looking right at its beady little eyes. Those beady looking things looked as if they were staring right into mine. I slowly took a step back. The snake did not move. I quickly looked on the ground to my left for a rock and fortunately for me there was a rather large one next to my left foot. Immediately, I picked it up, quickly raised it above my head and threw it hard at the snake and smashed its head in. The rest of the snake’s body and tail curled up and swung all over the place. I was surprised at my accuracy. I played a lot of stick ball and enjoyed trying to throw people out but I do not believe that I was ever that accurate.
I grabbed the handle of my wagon and made a wide berth around the dangling tail of the snake with the crushed head. The rock rolled over a foot or so from the velocity wherewith it was thrown. I was shaking. My nerves were rattled and my adrenaline was in high gear. I made it to the top of the hill, filled my jugs with water in record time. Afterward I walked slowly back down the hill. It was like I was crashing from some sort of sugar high. I felt drained. I walked by the dead snake, now still as the sticks and rocks that lay near it. I stopped and stared for a few minutes and then moved on. I made it home. Put the water jugs in their place, poured myself a tall glass, sat down next to the wood crate and turned the glass up until it was finished. I did not mention the snake to my aunt. I just stared at the wall for a moment until I heard voices outside calling my name.
“Jerry, are you home?” , asked one of the kids as he knocked. “We are ready to play softball. Can you come?” My aunt looked at me and nodded her assent. I jumped up, grabbed my makeshift bat from the back porch and joined the crowd. On the way to the field where we played, I told my story about the snake. There were oooh’s and ahhh’s from some, there were a few “…you’re just making that up…” comments from others. Either way it did not matter. I was still shuddering from the experience.
Stay tuned next week for stories from Jerry’s childhood in the rural south in Jerry’s Patio Garden