NORMAN — When I tell people that I grew up on a Kansas hayfield, they automatically assume I have a green thumb, which is funny since I can’t even grow weeds sometimes.
It’s no secret that my thumb is not even in the green family. I wish I could blame my gene pool, but I remember my grandmother having the loveliest of apple trees in her backyard. From that tree would come applesauce — that and hours of entertainment with my cousins of throwing rotten apples at each other. Lovely memories.
My mother used to grow a garden in the summers, too. We’d have green beans and potatoes. One year, we actually got to the tomatoes before the bugs ate them all.
Perhaps my inability to grow things come from my father’s side of the fence. One of my fondest Christmas Day memories was when the fire trucks showed up at the house because Dad decided it was a great day to burn off the garden in preparation for next year’s crop.
He would have gotten by with it, too, had the wind not shifted directions. It was shortly after that Mom started hiding the matches; this wasn’t his first offense with setting the field on fire.
But there is hope. After living in my house for seven years, I’ve finally managed to produce a crop, and a hearty crop it is. When we first moved into our house, the pecan tree in the backyard was barely taller than me.
I’m sure it was planted to keep the summer evening sun from blasting the living room. Which, I’m happy to report, the branches and leaves have worked successfully together to make my living room a shady evening retreat. My air conditioner also is grateful.