What is Heaven

Sandi McBride

April 30, 2014

Over the weekend it finally happened. When we got up at 6 a.m. the freeze warning light on the electronic temperature gizmo was not blinking. The next day I had proof of Spring in the heavy blooms of the Lady Banks Rose. Its long limbs of yellow flowers lay across the lattice fence showing out to beat the band. Mind you, we had spent the last few weeks bringing plants out of the greenhouse to get some good sun when the temperatures would drop suddenly from the sixties to the forties and the mad dash to get plants out of the cold would start. We have been hearing for weeks now how sick everyone is of the current weather pattern. We all want to get started planting, we all want that first taste of summer, the tomato sandwich. Of course we are still weeks away from that one, but with the weather of the past few days, it seems more likely than not that the “sink sandwich” is a clear possibility. You know what a sink sandwich is I’m sure ….its that red juicy tomato, the two slices of bread and the Dukes mayo….put it together and eat it over the sink as the juices and mayo blend and run down your arms…your eyes will be closed and strains of the hallelujah Chorus will be playing in the background. Sorry, I was day dreaming for a second.

Monday, we had the absolute pleasure of meeting Mr Mendell Johnson. We were looking for someone to turn up our garden and neighbor Joanne Cowan mentioned that Mr Johnson might be the one to do it. I called and left a message on his machine telling him that Joanne had mentioned him to us and we would like to talk to him about breaking ground for a garden. I was inside preparing lunch when Mac came in to tell me Mr. Johnson was here. I went out and we discussed where the garden should be. He agreed with the best place to put it and said he would be back with his tractor. And he was. When he dropped the discs to cut into that deep carpet of bahia and johnson grass the garden began to come to life. He handled that tractor and disc like the professional he is, and in a wink we had a large garden area laid open before us. The smells of that fresh turned earth took me back to childhood as visions of Daddy Dwight (Douglas) on the big John Deere came to me, making Mammy’s garden. Like Mr. Mendell, he would drop that disc array and make pass after pass on that ground where tomatoes, okra, corn, beans and even watermelon would grow and thrive over the summer till it was time to lay the garden by. He would finish by climbing down off the tractor seat and squatting down to take a fist full of the raw earth in hand and squeeze the dirt then open his hand to the ball of ground in his hand and holding it out to me say, ” smell that girl? That’s life”. As I stood there tears formed in the corners of my eyes while I inhaled deeply of life. That good sweet smell brought me to one conclusion. What is Heaven but a garden?