I plant a vegetable garden every year. It takes me back to happy memories of my childhood, when I would watch Mom plant and water and hoe and weed, while my sister and I followed behind her, eating string beans off the bush and making remarks like “Gee, Mom looks tired.”
Now that I’m an adult, karma has essentially bitten me in the butt. I’m the one planting and hoeing and weeding, while Jason makes comments on my haggard appearance. (In all fairness, he does rototill the garden every spring, though I suspect if I had the upper arm strength to control the tiller, I’d be doing that, too.) But this year, I would have my revenge.
You see, I’ve been sick lately. I’m not going to go into detail, but suffice to say I’ve been tired, dizzy, and generally miserable. I could help with the planting, sure, but there was no way I could do it all myself this year. Jason would have to put the garden in, while I “supervised.” (I could hear myself already: “Boy, that looks like hard work! You sure do look tired.”)
We went out to the tilled patch to map things out. I had grand designs for corn, potatoes, green beans, pumpkins . . . I was even debating putting in zucchini, even though I hate the darn things. But if I wasn’t planting, I was all for it.
“What’s this?” Jason said, toeing a sprout that had pushed through the dirt.
I bent down for a closer look. “I think—it looks like a cucumber.”
“There’s more over here,” Jason said. “And something else, too.”
See, here’s the thing about my personal gardening cycle: I start out every spring ambitious as all get-out, planting and weeding and fertilizing and playing soothing music for the plants. (I have found, over the years, that James Taylor is wildly popular with most any budding vegetable.) Then, by mid-July, it’s hot, my knees ache, and I don’t care so much any more. By the end of August, the weeds have taken over, and it’s pretty much a game of hide-and-seek at that point, trying to find the ripening veggies. We were undoubtedly looking at new sprouts that had risen from the rotted remains of the vegetables that had hidden a little too well last year.
A quick survey showed that we had onions, potatoes, green beans, cucumbers (or possibly gourds), and zucchini already growing. “How can that be? I didn’t plant zucchini last year,” I grumbled.
“Didn’t one of the girls at work give you a zucchini last year? And you pitched it in the back yard?”
“Yes,” I snapped.
Jason shrugged. He strolled over to one corner, made a couple of hills, stuck some pumpkin seeds in, and brushed his hands off on his jeans. He was done planting the garden.
I was mad. This wasn’t fair. Everything was already blooming. I was sick with rage . . . actually, no. I was still just plain sick. Sick, dizzy, and weak. I really shouldn’t have been outside at all.
“Boy,” Jason said. “You sure do look tired.”
Well played, karma. Well played.
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