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The Village Idiot

Kids and Seeds

Jack Deatherage, Jr.

(6/2011) So, we had a school group come through Fort Boonesboro while I was planting Scarlet Runner beans.

Kid after kid came up to inquire what I was doing. That's ok. I've kind of reconciled myself to the fact that most children, today, have never seen a seed go into the ground. But it was worse. Most of them pointed to the small bowl and asked, "what's that?" Seriously! They didn't even know what a seed was.

It's one thing to look at a styrofoam package of steak and realize most people haven't a clue where food comes from. But that really shocked me, that fourth graders don't even know what a seed is, or why it gets planted.

Downright scary!

God dropped this message into my e-mail account signing it as Brook Elliott- occasional contributor to Mother Earth News magazine, co-author of Hiking Kentucky (America's Best Day Hiking Series), long time member of Yahooís "Heirloom Growers Garden" group, a gifter of Sinahusia pepper seeds (an heirloom seed Iím still working with since 2005), recreater of many other things Ďgardening/Appalachian frontierí history related.

As occasionally happens when information just falls in my lap connections with other bits, events, conversations snap into order, of sorts. In another aspect of Herself, She tells me (as M in Texas) to follow the advice of the farmers whoíve gifted me the acre to garden. That acre has been turned over by plow and before it could be disked, the rains began again, soaking it deeply. Iím hoping weíll get onto it before June, but Iím now planning a fall crop of cabbages, kales, collard greens, beets, peas- whatever can take a bit of frost or cool weather. (Marty says a late spring often means a late fall so Iím still hopeful of planting potatoes and maybe seeing some peppers and tomatoes ripen before the end of this season.) Iím obviously being taught patience, but something else becomes transparent as I wait.

Brookís e-mail reminds me I have a story to write, a tale Iíve been at for more than twenty-five years. One that I start and stop with such unpredictability as to depress anyone. Recently, Iíve been asked to sit in on a meeting with someone from the Small Business Administration and a determined woman planning a youth program that will probably use gardening as one of several focal points. The possibilities that opened before me at that meeting connect with the waiting acre, the story and the eventual start-up business of a market garden. Iíve volunteered to take a shot at writing the business plan for the youth program, which will help me write my own plan.

Iíll restrict my involvement with that particular group to providing what help I can away from the kids. A police background check is required to work with children and last I knew anyone who paid to have such a check done on themselves the cost was $500. Twenty years ago, it was $500! If I had $500 to waste on being told Iíve officially lived a very boring life Iíd gift it to the kids and go on with my naps. Add the requirement to be finger printed and Iím not looking to be anymore than a sideline benefactor of this youth program. (I may some day decide to become a criminal and it would be stupid to willingly allow my finger prints to be on record with the police. Even Iím not that big an idiot!)

Iím back to feeling very much like a worm on a hook. Possibilities keep poking me as I squirm around hoping Iíll be dropped back into the bucket so I can go back to sleep. I mean really, who wants to be a tool of a god, especially the God? Sheesh, Sheís pregnant with possibilities after all and who knows how Sheíll put me to work once I agree to even one of them! (CRAP! I already agreed to the acre!) Sheís driving me, in cursing and swearing fits, toward what we both know Iíll agree to do in the end anyhow.

Ignorance is my constant companion, a darkness I struggle to pierce yet wrap about me as a security blanket. Brook telling me there are ten-year-old school kids who do not know what a bean seed is is a sharp point to prod me with. Having set me up as a firearms range safety officer as well as an archery coach to kids as young as three, I see Iím being prepared for a future, or at least the probability of one, I both want and am terrified of. Allowing the story to grow in my head, feeding events and people into it to cause it to constantly grow bigger and grander- Damn She plays me! Sheíll even have me finger printed if She wants, but Sheíll have the provide the $500 Ďcause Iím a stubborn ape and dragging my knuckles on the ground means I can grab it and hold tight when I need to!

Iíve been reading books Iíd best have left be, but having a Curious George gene in me somewhere, I had to pick them off the libraryís shelves and damage myself some more by trying to lighten my ignorance. (Oh, how I sometimes long for the days when I used alcohol to blunt the damage books do to me!) The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith and The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century by Dr Dickson Despommier both argue that the planet (as we occupy it now) is no longer able to maintain our current population of humans.

I normally wouldnít have read either of these books, but being a "mind numbed robot" of Rush Limbaughís, I followed his advice to seek truth for myself. I think Rush believes the planet can easily support more of us, that humans have the capacity to solve any problem confronting us.

Dr Despommier, also thinks humanity can solve its growing food problems by way of high tech engineering. Ms Keith, a radical feminist, leaves me thinking sheíd like to see the race reduced to barely enough effeminate sperm donors to keep the gene pool workable and the rest of us male apes be reduced to garden compost. She believes there are simply too many people and our food production methods have been destroying the plantís ecosystems since the first knuckle dragger split (raped) the earth and dropped a seed on purpose. I agree with her about there being too many of us, but I think people like her should show us the way. If sheíd come to the acre, pick a nice spot for a nut tree to grow and add herself to the soil, Iíd happily buy the tree to plant over her.

Chaos! Mother of everything! See what happens when you keep me from hurting myself with honest physical toil? Look where I wander when Iíve nothing useful to focus on! Let up on the rain long enough for me to get the acre garden started! Ga! I get it! Now let me get to work!

Read other articles by Jack Deatherage, Jr.