Wilber Srs Garden

DFH Volume 1 Issue 1

by Camilla Luckey

Grandpa’s 1950’s garden was on a small, level, tucked-away spot more than midway down the hilltop from the Corinth High School and toward the long-gone, original Wesleyan Methodist Church building almost at the bottom. The garden site is now unrecognizable, filled and level with the sidewalk and street, and barely visible from the roadway. Back then, however, before the “new” Church building uphill from the parsonage began to change the landscape, the garden was sort of invisible, hidden because of a drop-off of several feet. (I know, because I fell off that sidewalk once and had to have three stitches on my head).

There was room, but barely, for both Grandpa’s garden and a dirt road that led past a magical, small, hidden swamp dense with pencil-slender, hollow-stem native water-plants, like skinny bamboo, that American Indians had some purpose for. They were also fantastic for me and my own mid-century pretend, my own secret Indian garden playground, moccasin-quiet. Grandpa’s garden and my own are filled in, leveled, gone, overflow parking for a convenience store. When it was there and I was four or five, his garden, practically in the church’s backyard, yielded marvelous corn. (I have no memory of what else, maybe carrots.)

Although “everybody,” of course, was scrupulous about observing Sabbath no-drive, no-work rules, i.e., a Sabbath day’s journey was whatever it took to pick up and take home the Sunday School kids, a higher rule prevailed when it came corn season. “Everybody” knows the fresher the better when it comes to corn, and thus it must be picked as close to table-time as possible. That’s the rule. So, if it’s corn season and it’s also Sunday and the corn’s in your backyard, that’s when you are supposed to pick it. And husk it. And eat it. Immediately! At least that was my otherwise-unbending father’s theological stance for a few weeks every summer.

My mother was to get the corn water boiling and Sunday dinner on the table while he delivered the across-the-river SS kids. The minute he parked the car he was up in grandpa’s garden picking a few ears of corn, husking them as he carried them toward the kitchen. Even if the corn hadn’t been delicious beyond description, I’d have thought it was, judging by my father’s pure simple joy, anticipated and fulfilled, he who never stepped into a garden other than to pick corn and would never think of doing a lick of work — or pleasure — on the Sabbath.

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