Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Ah, The Summer Heat

Today was an ordinary day in the south, I drove to work with the windows down as it wasn't quite hot enough to have the a/c on in the car and as I drove, this immensely huge produce truck went careening by me ready to topple with the weight of the water melons in the back.

This was not your average semi of produce, oh no, this was an open air, slat backed pickup that someone clearly used to haul things with, it was a "work" truck. As it went by, you could smell the water melons, almost taste them and with that, a rush of memories came flooding back to me. Memories of a grandfather, a garden and a veggie/fruit stand.

My grandfather's name was Elijah and ironically enough, in many different translations, it always comes back to "the meaning of the name Elijah is strong" and they couldn't have been closer to the truth. My grandfather arose everyday "before the birds" as he liked to put it, which must have been pretty early considering the birds were awake before I was, and at 13 I thought 10a.m. was early, and he would walk(sometimes he drove his tractor) down the road in his blue Dickie pants and green Dickie shirt paired with green, knee high waterproof boots(the same ones he fished in) to his garden, which was easily the size of a football field and do what gardeners do. Weed, plant, water, chase the vermin out, all the things that make the good things grow. Then he'd be back at the house before noon and be done for the day. So, he spent about 8 hours a day down there making magic. I say magic because his veggies and fruit were sought after by all the "city people" who would come to their summer homes on the lake.

And talk about prime real estate, we(my grandfather and I, sometimes my Dad and cousin) would set that veggie stand up on Route 9N that lead from Saratoga Springs, NY to Lake George, NY but had to wind through the small town of Corinth first. We had it all, from Silver Queen corn(the best) to bright green watermelons,(if you tap it and it's hollow sounding it's good) to sunflowers(big as dinner plates)and even herbs, all there, all fresh. Ours for the taking.

We sold that food, hand over fist, new people stopped, regulars stopped and regulars got a deal because, well they were regulars and bought so much anyway, that we both made out. As summer drew to a close, we even started giving the food away because "I'd rather give it away than watch it rot." And yet, quite a bit of it did rot or get eaten by the animals, because it's pretty difficult if not impossible for one person, or even 3 to tend to a garden that large.

As the years wore on, my grandfather drove his tractor more and walked less. My grandmother had since passed on and the garden became smaller and smaller until it finally was overgrown with weeds and proved far too much for one man to handle. Grandpa sort of forgot about the land and it was eventually sold, excavated and perpared for some houses that never appeared.

To the best of my recollection, the land is still empty, waiting for someone to make use of it. Yet, I swear everytime I see a watermelon truck on the highway, I can almost see that old man, in that garden, before the birds.


Blogger From Grits to Gringa said...

Wow! These images are vivid. You have a nice voice. I met you once at a Courtney Pence pool/cookout I believe. Glad I stopped by...

I'm at www.from-grits-to-gringa.blogspot.com


10:53 PM  
Blogger From Grits to Gringa said...

Where's your next posting? I'm on the edge of my seat to see what will appear next... your blog is calling you! It says, "Post! Post! Post!"

2:59 AM  

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