Guarding Gardens

John Edgar Wideman. Hiding Place.

Late now for putting seeds in the ground. There was a time they turned the ground from the back porch all the way to the trees at the edge of the hill. Long straight furrows combed in the earth and they'd grow enough to can and get through the winter. Beans and peas and tomatoes and cucumbers and lettuce and turnips and mustard greens. Sticks marching in regular rows and strings stretched for the vines to climb. Corn and grapes and parsley. Once her brothers had shown her where sausage grew and the hole where she should lay the hambone and cover it with ash to grow a new ham. You see anything yet? Ought to be sprouting up pretty soon now. You sure you spread them ashes careful? You sure you been watering it every day? Maybe you put your ear to the ground you hear it oinking. A fence then to keep out stray dogs and cats. Raccoons still around too. Her daddy kept a shotgun in the cupboard but never got a shot at one. They thought they might catch one in their pigeon trap and baited it with bacon instead of bread but nobody was allowed to sit up all night and hold the string which was attached to the stick which held the box up in the air. None of the children could stay up all night at the window to pull the string when the raccoon went after the bacon under the box, so we never catched one either.
Corn and grapes and parsley. Nous sommes au pays de cocaigne. And the tall tales turned practical jokes trick out the ever trickling stories.

And so for day 1916