|When a strawberry gets dressed up for a night on the town.|
There's a strawberry patch to the northeast of the house, so much as a strawberry patch will allow you to call it one. It is a rectangle of dirt mixed in with sticks and the underside of grass. A tractor stands proud and red on the west end. Billy Sue sniffs it out. Silly looks out from the shed to see what we are doing.
It's some noise, some voices, hands being thrown up in exasperation, Well good gosh. I don't know, Daddy. I just know I want greatgrandmother's strawberry patch. Watn't it all the way down the driveway?
That was a garden, Shea.
Well I just remember eating strawberries on the way to her house. I just figure we'll feed us. Strawberries. Then if I do good at that. Tomatoes.
He comes and stands next to me. You gotta watch Daddy. He could thump you on the head so you have to be watching him come. When he gets to me we stand shoulder to upper forearm, he straightens his arm and extends it into an arrow marking the center of us. We both use his arm as a sight, look down to the first third of the drive as stated by number of tree or where that stick is sticking up or a fence post stands. Is that where you want it?
I guess, Daddy.
You heard me reading it, four foot between. Daddy has made me google it and read it aloud when I got to something important.
We both begin on the already turned up dirt marking our steps. Something I learned from him and it almost feels like a race. We find the measurement by stepping it out in a beautiful brown with a touch of clay (the creek bed kind) solid juicy dirt. Soil (like the stuff you buy but it's out in the yard).
Do I need to go buy fertilizer?
Well I got some fertilizer.
We need to put it on here?
I'll just bring the John Deere over here. You can go out in that horse pasture and get manure.
Are you serious?
Sign one that your father may read your blog.
He brings over the John Deere, parks it under the carport and teaches you how to start it after you've already had an incident not remembering the correct order of steps to start the zero turn. This one is easy. Two steps. Step one. Turn the key to the right. Step two. Stick a long screwdriver up the ass end past this bolt to a small silver space which when touched by the aforementioned screwdriver will cause a spark and an ignition of aforementioned John Deere. Know what I'm scared of as much as horses? Being electrocuted.
Geez, Dad. Really?
That's what I'm showing ya'.
And I gotta drive it in the pasture where the horses are waiting on me?
These better be some good damn strawberries is all I'm saying.
Today I am grateful to spend an afternoon with my mother's husband.
On a memoriam note. Many people died last week. All over the world. A kid. A mother. A soldier. A somebody who you may have known personally in a way you could have only known them. A Virgie. Up until I was in my late teens did I even know that everyone didn't have a Virgie 'cause I equated her given name as a title like Mamaw or Grannie or Grammie or Gaga or Mimi. Whatever you say I had a Virgie. I don't even deserve to put her name here 'cause there was a time in my life when I stopped seeing her. There is shame to have never listened to her again, never again eating her macaroni and cheese or banana pudding, never driving what was an incredibly short distance to see her, sit with her, hold her hand. However you want to see it or say it this week she either left the earth or became one with it. I just want to say she was a good person to me. She helped raise me. I will always carry a part of the love in my heart because she showed me how.