Gardening at Grandma Samples’ Place: Playing in the
From a young age, I enjoyed nature and playing
outside. Mama and Daddy planted gardens every year. We had a big one at my
Grandma Samples’ place. In the spring, Daddy drove the tractor from the farm to
plow up the ground. As I rode with him on the tractor, the luscious smell of
overturning soil comforted me: I loved playing in the dirt. I dug holes, looked
for worms, made mounds of dirt, even baked mud pies. The garden at Grandma’s
provided me that dirt playground.
Gardening was hard work. We helped Mama and Daddy
plant seeds, hoe weeds, and pick ripe vegetables. The first things planted and
harvested were green onions and potatoes. I remember one summer day, we dug up
potatoes and brought them back to our house. I wanted to eat one right away.
Mama told me she needed to wash them and cook them for supper. I picked up a
dirt covered potato and ran into our house to our bathroom sink. I scrubbed
that potato with Dial bar soap, scrubbing and scrubbing to clean it. Mama came in
there asking, “What are you doing?” I replied to her that I was just washing
this potato so I can eat it. Mama shook her head, “We don’t need to wash them
in the bathroom sink with bath soap!” I wanted to be sure that potato was
Visiting with my Grandma Samples was the reason I
enjoyed the garden. She was quiet mannered, loving, and had a sharp wit. She
was born in 1903, a fascination for me, being born at the beginning of the
century. Often, we brought in peas or green beans, sitting with Grandma to
shell or string them. Grandma was always so much faster at that than me.
One story she told about her Grandfather Thompson both
intrigued and horrified me. Grandfather Thompson served as a Confederate
soldier during the Civil War. He told his grandchildren, “I was so cold, so
hungry, I was afraid to put my fingers near my mouth, afraid that I’d start
eating my own fingers.” There is no doubt, Confederate soldiers suffered
Grandma Samples lived a simple, long life. I admire
her immensely, living through the remarkable historical events of the 20th
Century. I remember walking out to the garden with Grandma, seeing her smile.
She enjoyed playing in the dirt, too, I can imagine.