I let her plant some stuff that she likes, since we have the room. She chose zucchini. I hate zucchini, but it makes her happy, so I'm happy. Except that last week when I was weeding zucchinizilla, I twisted my back and popped something in my knee. I hobbled around the garden, struggling to finish pulling up stray milkweed plants without falling over, when I noticed the neighbor in his yard with some of the kids that live in the area. "Can I offer you a zucchini?" I asked (moaned, really. My back hurt like @!@#!)
"No, no," the neighbor said. "I just wanted to show the kids what will happen if they don't exercise and eat right all winter and then try to be Farmer Suzie once the weather gets warmer." The kids looked terrified. I threw my kneecap at him and hobbled inside.
The next weekend, I went out to look at the eggplant, another one of my sister's choices. They'd taken over the garden. You realize, of course, that I despise eggplant. "Jesus. Mary, mother of God," I griped, picking enough eggplant to keep Sicily in rollantini for years to come. A little while later, while I was sticking the hoe up my nose in an effort to stuff my spine back where it belongs (growing old is no fun, I tell you) I noticed our pastor in the yard, watching me and shaking his head. He was surrounded by his Sunday School class.
"Eggplant?" I offered, lobbing one at him before he could answer. He ducked, then shook his head again.
"I just wanted to show the kids what happens when you take the Lord's name in vain. You have a little bit of spinal cord sticking out of your ear, by the way."
Pastor "K" was ticking me off. My woes were not due to a few loosely flung "J" words. They were due to the fact that I'm pushing 40 and my joints are deteriorating at an alarming rate. I decided to ignore him and check on the watermelon. The watermelon was my choice - it's one of my favorite fruits.
"Hail Mary, full of grace," I started, dropping to my knees.
"You're not Catholic," my pastor reminded me.
"Do you see these plants? Clearly, divine intervention is called for," I wailed. The pastor lectured the kids on what happens when you turn away from your chosen faith as I continued to say a few more Hail Marys and a prayer to Saint Peregrine for healing just to be safe. Alas, while I was doing this, the last of the withering watermelon strangled itself with its own vine, which I'm positive the Catholic Church frowns upon.
Sure, some other people might have given up at this point. But I figure, with the joy my sister is getting from the plants I hate, and the faith I've inspired in the local youth, plus the healthy eggplant dishes the neighborhood kids are going to be eating for the next three years, it's all worth it. Even the traction and the wrath of God.
A slice of watermelon sure would have been nice, though.