It was the mid 60’s and it seemed like in the early days we moved every seven years…this time it was to a small farm next to my girlhood home on River Road in Huron. The farm had several acres and was home to our first front yard farm market.
We topped an old farm wagon with a roof and edged it with red scalloped border. From there we sold hundreds of dozens of sweet corn 3/$1.00, along with beans, peas, radishes, tomatoes and several kinds of peppers. Lee loved to wait on the customers and show off his ability to add rapidly…his favorite antic was to tempt customers with lush looking jalapeno peppers telling them they were a new sweet variety and then howling when the customer bit into the hot, hot, hot pepper!
It was one of those unusually warm spring days, a day when both the inside chores and the outside chores battled for attention. While working to get the house ready for Mother’s Day..a day this mother would be cooking and serving dinner for a houseful of guests…I sent the kids Lee, Terri and Bob outside to work at pulling weeds from the pea patch that was springing to life in the field closest to the house.
The kids were 5, 6 and 8 that spring and were a constant handful …”he did it”…”she did It”... “I didn’t do it”…”Don’t drink it all” ...”It‘s my turn”…so sending them out to tend the pea patch was an escape for all of us!
After what seemed like only a few minutes, I stepped back to enjoy, although briefly, a shiny kitchen with floor sparkling when suddenly I wondered why the kids had been quiet for so long…no one running into the house trying to get the other two in trouble…no one needing a drink before the floor dried…something was not quite right.
I checked out back where I could see the pea patch and sure enough the “weeders” had vanished! I checked the front yard and still no kids…starting to become a bit concerned, I rang the old black dinner bell that was on the back porch and was a signal to come running…no questions asked…still no kids!
Like every other mother, panic kicked in…where had they gone? Were they ok? Had a band of gypsies run off with them? If you are a Mom, I don’t have to go through the litany with you--you know all those questions that flash by in an instant when you know you should have been a little less relieved to have them out of your hair and a bit more watchful. “If they are not ok…it’s all my fault, what will I tell their Dad…”!!!
Thankfully, it was only a moment till I heard them giggling and coming up the hill just south of the house…they had Lee’s bike with a tree tied to it and all three kids pushing it up the hill!
It was my Mother’s Day present. A neighbor, Mrs. Gebelle, had a small nursery about a quarter of a mile down the country road and the kids had bought me a Dogwood tree for Mother’s Day! They were quick to report that they had saved up for it out of their allowances. How could I scold them for leaving without telling me and for not finishing up the pea patch weeding???
That tree is still blooming in the yard on River Road. When we moved some seven years later, we contacted Barnes Nursery to see if we could move the tree. Their advice was to leave it and drive by occasionally (which we still do)…it is huge and very beautiful over 40 years later!
Three years ago, Lee gave me another dogwood tree which we planted just outside my Veggie U office door at the back of The Culinary Vegetable Institute. In early spring last year I was disappointed to discover it looking very sad. However, patience was all that was needed and it finally bloomed for several weeks.
I believe that by this weekend it will be in bloom again!
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!