“I don’t know what you do to your eggplant, Dawn! What’s your secret?” “Let me tell ya my secret, Dad. You ready? Ready to hear the secret?” “I’m ready, you know I am.” his voice booms on the other end. I leave space in our back and forth for a dramatic pause, letting the anticipation build. “Ya gotta talk to them, Dad. You’ve got to talk to those eggplant. Encourage them. Give ’em a little love and attention and they will reward you with a bountiful harvest.”
I stood in our backyard garden yesterday watering. I started at the back bed full of Beefsteak variety of tomato. I admired the planting work Billy, Megan and I had done a few weeks earlier.
I spun around and watered the cucumber plants. It was here that I got a little miffed at the midnight critter that managed to break into our fenced beds and steal a plant. Then, I moved on to the front bed full of Big Boy variety of tomato. I watched as the water puddled around each plant and then, was absorbed into the soil and roots. My mind was lost in watering.
I turned next, to the front bed full of eggplant. I began my watering with the little runt of a plant, “Looking good, little guy.” I mumbled. I watched the soil turn dark and wet. I moved by watering wand from plant to plant. My lost mind made it’s way to memories of eggplant competitions with my Dad. I heard the replay of conversations filling my head. “Talk to them? Really, Dawn, that’s the secret…talk to them? Well, if that’s all it takes, I’m heading out to the garden now to talk to my eggplant. I’m gonna beat you this year!” “Doubt it, Dad! But we’ll see!”
This year, I’ve challenged my sister to plant the eggplant in Seekonk –
While I await the news of my sister’s planing, the garden beds here are full of future harvest. And, every day I water, my mind and heart are full of love and memories of my Dad and our little competition.