Critter In The Tomato Patch
Being raised and living in the southwestern part of Ohio in farm country, growing vegetables was just a normal way of life that each of us learned. Some learned life’s lesson in quite different and exasperating ways.I grew up a Daddy’s girl at my father’s heels and followed him like a little puppy dog, watching and wanting to learn all that I could from my hero.
I wanted to help my Daddy with every little task that he did.
One spring day he decided he was going to set tomato plants in the back yard behind our house. He gathered his tools and proceeded to the back yard. In preparation, he gently turned over the soil and was getting it ready for planting. As usual, I was right on his heels wanting to help.
I was still a little too young to help with some tasks but he did not discourage me and seemed to a always come up with jobs for me to do.
As my father worked diligently in getting the soil ready for the plants, I continued to bother him and was making it difficult for him to work. He finally created a job for me to keep me busy and out of his way. He sent me off to one area of the garden to pull weeds. What harm could there be in pulling weeds?
Alas, he thought, “She is finally involved in her own little task and I can get my work done without her annoying me,” my father thought. He continued on into the afternoon raking, digging, planting, covering the roots and watering the tomato plants. Every so often he could hear me humming a little tune, obviously content with the work that he had given me to do.
Finally, the last tomato plant was set into the ground and the dirt was gently packed around the base of each plant. My father stood up, brushed the dirt from his hands and from his pants and turned to survey the afternoon’s work.
To his horror, there was only ONE single tomato plant standing in the garden. As he let out a gasp, I bounded up to my father with a handful of weeds that I had pulled with the biggest grin on my face. I had been helping my Dad all afternoon and I was very proud of myself.
My father had not specified which plants were weeds and I had been busily working right behind him pulling out each tomato plant as he finished setting them in the ground. My Dad was flabbergasted as he looked over the garden again and again.
There was still only one lonely little tomato plant standing; the last one he had planted. I had pulled out every one of them thinking they were weeds and left them by the wayside, except for the bunch I still clutched in my dirty little hand.
My father saw how happy and proud of myself I was and he did not have the heart to tell me I had ruined his whole day’s work. He just sat down, took the “weeds” from my hand, laid them on the ground, wrapped his arms around, hugged me tight and told me what a good girl I was to have helped him all afternoon.
So, the “Critter in the Tomato Patch” that afternoon was not a four-legged critter… it was an eager little girl helping her Dad in the garden.
Photo Credit: http://www.morguefile.com/creative/anitapeppers