Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

May 15, 2005


Who needs a garden when you can buy vegetables for less money at the grocery store?


          I hate to admit it but I caved in again. I had been on the wagon for three years. But this spring the temptation was too much for me. So I planted a garden.

          Not a big one mind you. I follow the rule never to plant a garden bigger than your wife can manage. She can handle this one easily – it is about 20 feet long and six feet wide.

          I have four hills of squash, and they are about ready to eat. We like all kinds of squash but our favorite is the yellow crooked neck squash. In a few days my sweet wife will cook a pone of cornbread, warm up some black-eyed peas, slice an onion and a tomato, and we will enjoy fresh squash with a smile. Almost anything tastes better if you grow it in your own backyard.

          I planted some strawberries too. They are not as healthy as the squash. The soil may lack something those strawberries need. Where is Jeff Clary when you need him?

          Until I find out what is needed, I am depending on cow manure. That stuff works miracles with roses, squash, and other things. Water, cow manure, sunshine, and soil make a mighty fine team for growing a garden.

          Peppers grow so easily in this Elmore County dirt so I planted six different kinds. Mama loves peppers, especially hot jalapenos, so I am growing some for her. Sweet bell peppers are my favorite so naturally I planted some of them too.

          That is all for now. No sense in being fanatical about gardening. No tomatoes, beans, or corn. Maybe I will plant some of them next year. A man needs a vision for the future.

          My dad always had a garden. Gardening was basic living to him. Some years his garden was as big as ten acres or more. He and mother canned vegetables like there was no tomorrow.

          I can’t explain why I have this compulsion to have a garden and grow fruit trees. I just know I cannot resist it. Near our little garden I planted several pear, plum, and apple trees. Not far away are two productive fig trees. In the front yard is my pride and joy – a 10-year-old scuppernong arbor. Each year we gather enough berries to make six or eight pints of jelly. Most of the time our son Tim and his family come over to the house and Tim supervises our jelly-making.

          Mama and I both enjoy our yard. We both love growing flowers and trees. I am especially fond of crepe myrtles, dogwoods, and azaleas. God must love flowers and trees too since he made so many of them.

          Growing things is what life is all about. Years ago we poured a lot of energy, time, and love into growing boys. We were not perfect parents, far from it. But we did our best and the result is not so bad. In spite of us, our boys grew into fine men of whom we are mighty proud.

          Now we enjoy watching those boys grow their own children. It really blesses us to see our sons, and their wives, investing themselves in the lives of their children. We cheer for them and celebrate their good work whenever we can.

          Some of our grandchildren are growing children too. We now have five great grandchildren. We delight in seeing our grandchildren discover the great joy of growing kids.

          Most of them will never have a garden in the backyard. I understand that. It is cheaper to buy vegetables at the grocery store that to raise them yourself. I know that.

          But some of us need a garden, even a little one, where we can grow peppers and squash, and remember the greater joy of growing children into people who can make a difference in the world. + + + +