Archive for August, 2013

bitter lettuce

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

This year we planted a garden. In my state of constant list making, I have a mental list of things that I want. This is not the same as the “if we ever won the lottery” list. That is purely for fun. My list of things that I really want but do not have is incredibly short but one thing on it is a vegetable garden.

Our current house came with a fenced garden in part of the back yard so we were good to go! We planted seeds in little peat pots inside months ago. Around Memorial Day I got a local man to till up the garden and we planted our seedlings in neat little rows. The girls had fun playing farmer and it was a nice family activity. Then school got out and we headed south for three weeks to catch up on our family, friend and beach time.

We got back home and discovered that a lot of growing had been going on. Grass growing, that is. It was everywhere and it was thick. I was determined so I started weeding. Every morning I headed outside in my grubby jeans and got to work. Pulling grass on my hands and knees until I was exhausted and too hot to do anymore. It took just over a week but I got all of the plants cleared out. Even though about half of the garden did not survive the onslaught of grass, I was left feeling rather satisfied.
When we started all of this I had a whole list of reasons why it was a good idea. Eating better, fresher food, teaching the girls about growing food and all that is required. The list went on. But I have come to realize that this was something purely selfish. I wanted it. My sweet husband, of course, knew this already and humored me by being a good farm boy and responding to my laborious requests with a kind “as you wish”.

In all of the hours out in the garden pulling grass, I have discovered how much I enjoy it. I think it’s in my blood. My father grew up in rural North Carolina. In his community if you wanted to eat it, you’d better know how to grow it. This was not a matter of what was trendy or being organic. It was survival. He was one of 9 children and the only one to leave NC. My whole life, we have traveled back to see the family and I have always marveled in their gardens and the shelves of vegetables that they have grown and canned to feed their families through the winter. It is one of the most basic tenets in providing for one’s family and I find the whole thing rather appealing.
Unfortunately, I am not a very smart farmer. I shared this revelation with a friend and he said that he’s not a smart farmer either. But he’s a little smarter than he was last year. And smarter than he was the year before that. There is hope after all! I already have a list (shocking!) of what to do differently next year.

I have also realized that I am a very hands on person. Literally and figuratively. I love the feel of the dirt as I pat it down around young plants. I enjoy finding the grass that dares enter my Eden and ripping it out by the roots. Dispatching the enemy never felt so good. I enjoy sewing, baking and crafts for the same reason. I like to get my hands on it. I am a hands on mother and wife. I take the things that I am responsible for very seriously and I give myself fully to those things. Call it being a know-it-all, nosy, bossy, control freak, or whatever you want. It is just who I am.

Through all of this I am left with what promises to be a bounty of tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, herbs, cantaloupe, peppers and kale. And even though my garden will never grace the pages of a magazine (except maybe as a “before” photo), I will continue to weed, nurture and prune until the season is done. I will look lovingly upon my beautiful lettuce in its fresh shade of bright green and try to forget that it is too bitter to eat.


Friday, August 2nd, 2013

A long time ago…on August 2, 1959 to be exact…something amazing happened. In a tiny, one traffic light town in North Carolina, a city girl pledged her troth to a country boy. Helen Graham and Felix Yarboro got married. And the story of me began…

37 years later I stood at the altar with my soul mate and did the same thing.

4 years after that, Robert and I welcomed the first of our three lovely daughters into the world.

So August 2nd is something of a phenomenon in our family.

As a young Southern girl, I thought about my wedding dress and all of those things that little girls daydream about but, as I got older, those thoughts gave way to opinions on friends, school, music and all of the randomness that fills a teenage mind. I was dating someone who talked of spending our lives together but deep down I knew that my heart wasn’t in it. (My parents should now be smiling since they were right all along!) Enter Robert Donovan. Within a few weeks, I knew. He was the man for me. I found out later that he knew too. Strange how that happens, isn’t it?

Shortly thereafter, the marriage word came into play and at some point, the calendar was consulted. There it was. Plain as day. August 2nd fell on a Saturday. I still remember the tingling feeling in my stomach. We could share the day with my parents. There was no question. So, on 8.2.97, I put on my mother’s wedding dress and became Mrs. Donovan.

Four years later, largely pregnant with our first child, my OB said, “What about next Thursday?” I was completely calm until I realized the date of next Thursday. August 2nd. More stomach tingling. Abigail arrived perfectly according to my OB’s plan, making us parents and forever catapulting the date into the Yarboro/Donovan Hall of Fame.

It is not just that we share the date with my parents and the birth of our first child. It is so much more than that. My parents have been a great example of what a marriage should look like, from both the outside and inside. Their relationship is not without fault or flaw but its about as close to perfect as it can be. My husband and I have an amazing relationship. I am grateful each and every day for that. Our daughter is an incredible person. She is a lot of me and even more of my husband intertwined into a young girl who is smart, beautiful, kind and capable of anything.

So, on this, the second day of August 2013, I wish my parents a happy 54th, my sweet husband a happy 16th and our darling daughter a happy 12th.

Happy happy happy!