Monday, April 27, 2009

The Back Forty Of My Youth













When I was a child growing up in Darfur, my parents forced me to labor in their fields. Every morning Mom packed me a can of tears for lunch before I left to plow the back forty. When she forgot my can opener, I was forced to eat my right leg for nourishment. If I returned for dinner late, or if the oxen had eaten the sacks of weevils I collected for our meal, I was made to sleep on a pile of bones that belonged to the children who came before me. I learned at a young age that gardens were the playgrounds of sadists.

“Why can’t I just spend the summer watching Luke and Laura like NORMAL kids?” I cried. “Has God forsaken me?” While YOU spent the summer by the pool or sailing with your family (I said I’m not bitter), I was not allowed to join you until the overlords were satisfied with my work on their flower beds and infinite rows of vegetables. I’m sorry if I was too tired to play Duck Duck Goose, my friends. My tiny back was broken by 3:00 every summer day, but they never broke my will. That’s how I stayed alive.

I still see the weeds in my dreams. For every two I pull out of the ground, a forest replaces them.

Yesterday I bought flower boxes, seeds and a watering can. I can’t quite explain why I did this. Stockholm Syndrome maybe? Am I identifying with my captors, so that I might BE ONE OF THEM? I can’t be sure. All I know is that I put my father in the ground and now I want something to come up. It is going to work.

Ween – Push Th’ Little Daisies



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10 comments:

Mojopo said...

Further listening would be the album "King of America" by Elvis Costello. Start to finish is it unbelievably great. I'm doing it right now.

Anonymous said...

what a coincidence! today I started reading Jean Ziegler's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Ziegler) "Empire of shame"

So far I read about brazilian favela women. When their children cry because of hunger they boil water with stones to make them wait for a meal until children finally fell asleep...

LV

Speedy said...

Good luck with the seeds. I never have any luck with seeds. I buy plants and that works out better usually. Although I can kill just about anything green.... I had to pull weeds as a kid too but my folks paid us for them. A bucket = a buck!!!

anony tu said...

With planting, Sometimes the best stuff is the stuff that goes on beneath the ground. Take an old potato, one that has sprouts coming from it's eyes. Stick it in a mason glass with water and let the sprouts continue to grow. Then, plant the potatoe in a very large (like a five gallon) container of cow manure just below the surface and let it go. The vines and leaves are pretty, sort of green and purple with umbrella-like leaves. Eventually the vines will stop being pretty, wither and die. When this happens, don't be sad. It means something marvelous has happened! Turn the dirt out of the container and you'll find oodles of tender new potatoes all saying "cook us with a pot roast and carrots, and invite your friends -- we're wonderful!"

a.t. said...

I'm giving THIS Mojopost a 10, because that's what I do.

J9 said...

And here I wondered why my kids refused to come out of doors on Saturday, while I struggled to try and have a heart attack while turning the vegetable garden. Luckily, my concerned DH ran out when I was nearly done to take my blood pressure, and insist I sit and rest before continuing!

Mojopo said...

LOL!

I walked uphill (both ways) to and from the plains of sweat and toil. Barefoot even, if you don't count the shackles.

Tipsy said...

Wow, WEEN and EC's "King of America" all in one blog post.

I bow to your excellence.

(By the way, Indoor Fireworks is my favorite song on that album)

Minnie-sota said...

I had to pull weeds in the back yard for 1/2 each. Yup, times were rough back then. :-)

Mojopo said...

You got paid? You people got paid? I got a BILL.

BWAH