Grandpa Nap in the garden
Travels with Dad
—-This is a story of a complex relationship with my father, Al, who I came to love and understand after he was diagnosed with dementia.—-
When Al became a home owner, he immediately started a garden. His father, Napoleon (Nap) and his mother Mamie, came to our house every Sunday throughout the year. The focus during the summer was the garden.
One huge garden wasn’t enough. When Al purchased the 2 acres up the field, he put a garden in there, too. The new house wasn’t even built, or even in the planning stages. We had so much food from these gardens, that he donated all kinds of garden goodies to an orphanage. He always got a card from the Nuns, blessing him, and guaranteeing him a place in heaven.
The gardens certainly required a lot of attention. He had five kids to help, even if gardening wasn’t in our young blood. So, he mandated that we spend a good portion of our free time planting, watering, weeding, and picking. We had to stake up, tie up, transplant and prune. He had rain barrels, tillers, hoes, and stakes. He had spades, cultivators, shovels and composters. He had watering cans, garden rakes, barrier plastic, and string. He had everything, except our undying devotion to his hobby.
We survived. A row of lettuce didn’t. Al spotted a rabbit noshing on his greens one day. He ran, grabbed the shot gun, loaded it, readied himself, aimed, and fired. The rabbit hopped away, but we were left with shredded lettuce. He annihilated the whole row. We had to buy lettuce that year.
One day, we were almost all gunned down in the garden. Not by Al, though. There was an abandoned gravel pit behind our house. We were all slogging away, when we heard bullets whiz by our heads and towards the house, coming from the gravel pit. Al yelled as loudly and strongly as he could for us to hit the ground and not move. I was scared to death. He dropped also. Once he saw that we were all flattened, he began yelling to the shooter(s) to cease fire. They did. We survived that too.
None of the adult Fiore-Five have gardens now. I wonder why??