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Greek-American Stories: Embracing Spring

The long winter has finally relented and the Earth, at least in my garden, shows shoots of daffodils about four inches high. My mail box is stuffed with seed catalogs, a sure sign of approaching spring. In the face of the national pandemic, getting a type A-personality to slow down is quite a challenge. The only thing that saddens me that winter is fading is that I will have less time for reading and painting on canvas. You can bet I read a tower of books and painted a few scenes. I love to read, especially historical stories because it allows me to witness events and characters from the past that are so relevant today – just as they were then. There were, and still are, saintly and savage individuals. And there always will be.

But, books and painting aside, other things, like the garden, await our attention. Each April we have two similar holidays; National Arbor Day and Earth Day that encourage us to learn about our beautiful planet.  Soon, husband, Bill, will go into the green house he built to plant in the boxes seeds for tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and scallions. I tend to the herb space where basil, dill, parsley, chives, and mint will grow, hopefully. It’s what I save in plastic bags for winter cooking.

The bird feeders need cleaning, and the front garden where rose bushes are still drowsy with winter sleep all need attention. In other words, work!

Four years ago, husband, Bill, had ordered three little fig trees and gave me one to plant wherever I wished. I thought and thought and decided to plant it against the house, facing east, where it’ll get more sun and less wind. He shook his head, indicating that my choice of spot wasn’t practical. I figured, hey! He’s country; from Tripoli in Arcadia. I’m straight up city – Hell’s Kitchen, New York. No gardens there! Central Park was our backyard. There were ten blocks of fruit and veggie stores along Ninth Avenue and a small Italian guy who wore a garlic necklace, calling out, ‘Carlica’. He’d sing Italian songs to attract attention. One I recall was, ‘Italia Mia’. Another was, ’Povere’, a sad tune. I was mesmerized hearing him. But, my mother would tug me away to finish our shopping.

Well, four years have passed since I’d planted my fig tree and that little tree produces at least fifty to sixty figs each season while Bill’s trees are, to be polite, null and void – bare as a coat hanger. But, do I get ‘Gee, Kiki! Pretty good for a city slicker!’ Nah! But, he’s good at snatching the ripe, juicy purple softies when they appear.

When weeds crowd Bill’s veggies, I get a forlorn, sad Cocker Spaniel look from him. It’s hot! It’s humid! And, I’ve got things to do. That’s when I start longing for winter’s long, respite from outdoor chores, again.

We’re never satisfied; winter is long and dark, spring is short and sweet, summer is hot and humid and tiring. Autumn is perfect! The landscapers gather the billions of leaves that cover the yards; they trim the Hydrangea bushes and the dead branches that threaten to fall.

I forgot to mention the three Blueberry bushes I’d planted two years ago. To date, I’d eaten four blueberries. I’d have to get up real early to beat the little opossum that made his abode under the green house. I haven’t the heart to chase him away. He’s so cute! I’ve named him, ‘Bloopy’.

In life, as in a lot of things, for the best results you have to get a little dirt under your nails. If all you’ve got is ceramic pots on a sunny window sill, try planting something pretty and enjoy seeing it reward you with something pretty. And, I think we should all make a ‘positive’ pledge; “more giggles than grumble, more happy than hassles, more purpose than pointlessness, more facts than fiction.” I enjoy writing as much as I enjoy reading and painting. Happy, healthy spring season, everyone!



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