Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Samantha's Garden

Once upon a way back, so far ago as the 80s, Maya's Mama was a young girl named Julie, and her Uncle Richard was a young teenager called Richard, and her Granny was known as Mom. This, of course, was before Maya was born, or they would all have their current (and real) names. At the time of this story, they were living in a small duplex in Stockton, just the three of them and Julie's dog Samantha (usually called Sam) and Richard's cat named Sheba, and two tanks of fish, and whatever gerbil or hamster Julie had at the moment.

In the very small back yard, right outside the sliding glass doors, there was a concrete patio, and then a strip of earth with cedar chips, maybe two feet wide, and then the back fence. Beside the patio was a large square of yard with cedar chips and a tree in the middle, and that was all. Nothing usually grew in the strip of earth, except weeds. So, since Mom liked to have a neat yard, she would pull those weeds right out of there.

Well, one day she was out there pulling weeds, and there in the cedar chips by the fence was a little plant that looked and smelled like a baby tomato plant. Since Mom didn't know of anything that looks and smells like a baby tomato plant except a baby tomato plant, she didn't pull it up. Instead, she started to water it. Well, it grew and grew, and sure enough, it was a tomato plant. Pretty soon it was very big and since there was a fence behind it, it could only grow out over the patio. It got so big that pretty soon the weight on one side pulled it over and it laid down on the concrete and soaked up the heat and the summer sun and got bigger and bigger and bigger. Then it began to be covered with little yellow tomato flowers, and then some of the flowers fell off and the cherry tomatoes came. More and more yellow flowers, more and more cherry tomatoes! Why, there were so many tomatoes that Mom was picking 20 or 30 a day, every day, all summer long! What wonderful salads they had! They could just eat a handful of tomatoes any time they wanted. And they did. Mom would say, "I wonder why this tomato plant decided to grow here. I never planted it. Where did it come from?" Julie and Richard always said they didn't know either, and there was never any reason to doubt that.

One day, Richard asked Mom, "If I tell you where the tomato plant came from, will you promise not to be mad?" And Mom said, "How could I be mad? This plant has given us so many wonderful tomatoes!" So, Richard confessed. One day he had been sitting in the living room and eating cherry tomatoes (that Mom had bought at the grocery store) and Samantha had been whimpering in the back yard to be let in, and he had become irritated with her and thrown a cherry tomato at her. That tomato had bounced on the back fence, and smashed apart, and fallen into the cedar chips. When it smashed on the fence, all the seeds inside were released. Well, when Mom heard that, she wasn't angry at all, even though Richard had broken two rules: not to waste food and not to throw things at Sam.

Another time Sam was instrumental in growing food in that same strip of cedar chips. It so happened that Sam loved apples. When Julie would eat an apple, she would feed the core to Sam and Sam would gobble it all up. Well, in apple cores are apple seeds. And dogs don't digest apple seeds. And food that isn't digested comes out in poop. So, one day a year or so after the tomato plant had come and gone, Sam made some poop right in that same strip of cedar chips and she deposited some apple seeds. And then a lovely pippin apple tree grew there, and it grew beautiful apple blossoms and delightful little pippin apples.

So, there were two plants that grew in the strip of cedar chips, and both of them provided food for Mom and Julie and Richard. And both of them were an accident. And both of them were because Sam spent so much time in the back yard. But, in one way they were different — the apple tree was because Julie loved Sam, and the tomato plant was because Richard was irritated with her.

1 comment:

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I miss my Sammy sometimes. Too funny about the apples and tomatoes. I guess it kinda proves, too, that I wasn't as diligent as I should have been about picking up her poop...since it had time to get into the ground and germinate and all.