Letters to Holly

Monday, June 8

Fight Your Garden

Friday was a non-event. Nothing evented at all that day, and we'll slide right past.

I had only planned to weed the garden Saturday morning, but plans expanded when I realized how much weeding was required. Luckily, the ground is so pasty, so goopy, that I could simply shave the soil by scraping the top inch away with the shovel. Since I found myself with a shovel in hand, I decided to plant another section of corn. The first corn batch is slowly emerging, but it looks thin. I left one end of the garden bare, and it's just the right size for making the world's easiest corn maze.

Unfortunately, that section hides the immortal vine monster what lurks beneath our garden. I don't know what it is. It's not the berry bushes we wrenched up a few years back. It's some other insidious creature, one with thick roots sprawling all over. This was the hardest part of planting the news seeds. I hacked at it with the shovel blade and yanked the roots up as I could. It's a thick fiber, and it comes up in feet. I'm sure it looked like I was harvesting octopus. Or Sarlacc. I eventually had three trenches, and I filled those with compost from the bin.

That bin is suddenly rank. We didn't have that trouble before, and I suspect the charcoals from last year's grilling. I'd bet money the grill drippings coated the coals, and I was smelling the residue. Nothing else we put in would turn like that. It smelled like diapers, which I assume is great fodder for the garden but, hokey smoke, is shoveling sunshine-warmed poo dirt the worst job first thing in the morn. But it went quick, and I popped in my corn seeds, and now we may have more than one successful stalk.

I helped Your Sis grade papers all day afterward. We hunkered down in front of ESPN/ABC's six hours of horse-racing coverage and made our marks and discussed teaching tactics. I favor the use of pop-culture to get kids involved. For instance, there's a sports-talk TV show called Around the Horn that allows four sports reporters to debate each other for points. The lowest points in each round eliminate a reporter until one is left standing. I think she should use this in class and make her kids debate story elements in front of the class. They don't play for grades but for argument skills needed for timed test sections. For the record, in the few times she has been able to inject pop culture into class discussions, the kids eat it up. It keeps them attuned.

I got a call from the theatre folk asking about the new one-act package show. They are suggesting we add more shows. Yes, really. And I thought the compost smelled bad. This augurs so ill, and my expectations dwindle more and more. The theatre is bleeding audience; the show that just closed averaged 15 people a night. That's inexcusable. It should shock people into making big, smart decisions for using the theater's resources. Instead, they're throwing all the pasta on the wall, and I am very, very tempted to back out of the one-act package before it cranks up.

On Sunday I drove back to Spartanburg for a family reunion. There were about sixty folks there -- some I knew well, some I never otherwise see or recognize. Mom got to see the pictures of Your Sis on the bike and was shocked by them. Everyone is surprised by this. Me, not so much. She didn't talk about getting a bike very often, but she always enjoyed seeing them in action movies. How many times have we watched Trinity slip through enemy traffic in the second Matrix film? Couldn't tell you. But it has a bike, and thus it was consumed muchly.

I also gave Mom a digital copy of our casual prom pictures which I shall also now share with ye.

She's so damn cute.

That's one of her students' left arm in the top right picture, but it does look like it's my arm from the picture next to it. We don't have enough pictures of the two of us. I wants more.

I got home earlier than I expected and listened to a Mercury Radio production of Dracula on the drive back. I went back to the papers while Your Sis travailed at school, and we met up for a late supper. She has one big week left of students, and I intend to clobber these papers with her and finish them tomorrow night.

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