02/04/10

daily diminishing (day 222)

Long after my grandfather went into the nursing home, I began wondering what had happened to the hat that he and my grandmother wore when they worked in their garden. They had let their garden go fallow maybe five years earlier, something the full weight of which only now registers with me. Their garden was not only the source of most of what they — we all — ate, but it was their pride and their joy. The place they invested a great deal of their summer labor, rising at 4 a.m., taking care of animals, working in the garden until the hot Southern sun got the best of them, taking a break for a Pepsi and lunch and returning to the garden later in the afternoon. Evenings were spent shelling butterbeans, shucking corn, or stringing and snapping stringbeans. We all worked in their garden which was about an acre in size. I can still see my grandfather, sweat rolling down his face, pushing the hat back on his forehead and wiping his head with a faded purplish-blue bandanna. My aunt unearthed this hat and remembered that I had asked about it. It still has the worn price sticker from Farmer’s Alliance store on the band inside. It is sun-faded and filled with the sweat of many years of my Granny and Papa’s labor. I now understand that when they gave up their garden it was like giving up a child that they had nurtured for many years and that had given so much back to them.

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~ by cmclaurin on February 4, 2010.

One Response to “02/04/10”

  1. I fondly remember this hat and the many times he wore it. I’m sure Pa-paw wouldn’t have traded all that sweat and dirt and hard labor for anything. Simple man with a simple life = great reward. We all can learn a lot from Pa-paws hat.

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