On a small farm, NW part of Washington state, near Canada.
I am 10 and my brother is 8. We are having supper at the round dark oak table in the dining room with Mom and Dad. It’s a Friday night and Clio and I want to run out a play again before it gets dark: but it is not to be. Dad wants to talk to us about tomorrow.
We stop fidgeting to listen,
“Children you know it is time to plant the garden so we will have food for next winter. Tomorrow looks like a good day for it. This week I plowed and prepared the ground.. and today I marked the rows with string between stakes so we can see where to plant. Tomorrow morning we’ll get up and have breakfast and go to work on the garden.” Dad smiled as he said this. He loved the land. He was actually looking forward to planting this garden! Clio and I did not share his enthusiasm, but we knew we would be working on the garden tomorrow.
The next morning after breakfast, Dad an Clio headed to the garden. As soon as the breakfast dishes were done, Mom and I joined them where Dad had prepared everything In some rows we had to put seeds about a foot apart, then cover them with the cool damp earth. We all worked hard (Clio and I probably not as hard as Mom and Dad). . . finally we thought we were done… WRONG~.
Dad came up to us and congratulated us on doing such a good job, Then he said: “There’s just one more thing to do.. Plant the potatoes. “
Now, this wasn’t seeds. Rather it was pieces of potato that Mom had cut up for planting. The secret in all of that was the “eyes” on the potatoes. A certain break in the skin, easy to see, but I don’t know how to describe. When Mom cut the potatoes, she made sure that each piece had an eye in it.
We then were to take the potatoes, dig a small hole and put three pieces of potato into the hole, making sure that the “eye” on each piece was turned UP. Clio and I are not happy! Our backs hurt from bending over, we are ready to quit this garden business. But, Dad has given us our instructions. We take the pieces of potato and start.
We work out a system. I dig the hole, Clio drops in the potatoes, covering them well with the dirt while I dig another hole. At the beginning we are very careful to turn the potato “eyes” in the right direction. A little over half the row we become speedier – by simply dropping three potato pieces into the hole, helter-skelter, then covering them.
We get done… call Dad and tell him we’ve finished. He comes up, looks as the row and exclaims: “I’m surprised at how quickly you got this done!_ Great job! That’s it for now. Your mother and I will finish up. Go on and play.” We scamper off before Dad can change his mind. . . and totally forget about those potato “eyes.”
Several months later.
The weather is warm. No more jackets and we can go barefoot. Now, there is a bucket of water, brush and towel by the back door. Before we are allowed to come inside, we have to put our feet, one at a time, in the bucket, use the brush to wash off the dirt from our feet and dry them well. Mom does not want dirty tracks on the floor. We painfully learn how serious she is about this, so obey.
This specific evening, as usual, Dad takes off his shoes, our feet don’t make dirty tracks, our hands are well washed and we are sitting around the dining room table, enjoying some of the fresh vegetables from the garden that Mom fixed for supper. (She is a GOOD cook.)
As we are eating, Dad starts talking about the garden. “All of the work of planting and weeding (Clio and I did our share of that, also.) has been worth it! We have plenty of vegetables to can (more hard work!) for the winter. It looks like the fruit trees are going to bear well. We have much to thank God for!”
Dad paused. “But there is one thing I do not understand. We are going to be short on potatoes. A little over half the row is fine. But the other part almost no potatoes grew.” And he looks at my brother and I, with his eyebrows raised, waiting for our comments.
We shamefacedly confess what we had done. His only remark is: “I thought you got through planting those potatoes very fast. Now do you understand why it was important to plant them like your mother and I told you to do, why she was so careful how she cut them? This winter, you may not have as many mashed potatoes as you would like.”
With downcast eyes, we understood.
I’ve never forgotten. I can still remember planting those potatoes – I had a little guilt as I let Clio just throw them into the holes. I was older and knew better. But no one would ever know… and we’d already done so much!
This lesson is indelibly etched into my mind to remind me to that responsibility is demanded by life and expected by God.
That old adage: “Your sins will find you out” is only too true.
How about you? Do you have some memories like this?
Know what? Ï thank God for the word “forgiven.”