We rented a very old farm-house from one of the most wonderful families we have ever met. The house had been built in the early 1800's. It had a few quirks but we enjoyed most of those quirks. Those were the days of my wheelchair, aka The Beast. Another wonderful family helped Mr. Marvelous construct a ramp to get me up the few front steps and into the door. The boys would push me up the ramp and into the door and let go. I would roll through the living room and into the dining room. If I leaned ever-so-slightly to the left, I would roll on into the kitchen and end up at the kitchen sink. If I leaned a bit more to the right when I hit the dining room, I would roll into the den/office/computer room and wind up right in front of the computer. It was better than a roller-coaster!
There are so many wonderful things about a small community, and that particular community is among the best. My parents have moved back there and we go as often as we can to visit, although that is not nearly often enough. A number of our heroes still live there (I mean heroes besides my parents), like Mr. Ralph and Mr. Billy and many, many others.
But lets get back to that wonderful house. No one had lived there for a year or two, and no one had done anything with the back gardening area for even longer. The rains had fallen, the grass had been mowed, the leaves had composted and that was Black River Swamp dirt. Mr. Marvelous was in hog heaven! The first time he got out there to till, he came in so happy; the dirt was so rich and black he just knew he could grow anything there....and he did! We grew some whopper pumpkins that year, and some of the best crops of everything he could imagine.
There was just one problem. At the time, Mr. Marvelous was working for a company repairing machines. The territory he had been assigned when we moved to South Carolina from Tennessee was the Savannah territory. That is a 2 1/2 hour drive from the little farm-house. He covered the area mostly north of Savannah, but there were times when he had to drive all the way to Jacksonville, Florida (a 4 1/2 hour drive). So he was on the road a LOT that year. That meant that he did not have quite as much time to maintain the garden and keep it tidy as we all would have liked. So one day in a fit of disgust over the untidiness of the garden, I went out back and WEEDED. I was yanking up weeds and casting them dramatically to the side. I meant business with those weeds! When Mr. Marvelous came home that evening, I proclaimed to him (somewhat self-righteously and probably using a martyr's tone of voice) that I had weeded his garden.
Mr. Marvelous went out back to check things out. He was gone for a little longer than I thought necessary since after all, I had weeded the garden for him. He finally came back to the house shaking his head and trying (unsuccessfully) not to laugh. I waited for him to tell me how much he appreciated me weeding for him in spite of my frail condition. I waited. He did not say anything. I waited some more. He just kept shaking his head and trying not to laugh. Finally I asked him what was so funny and why he had taken so long when I had already done all the weeding for him.
"Well", he replied, "I had to put the okra that you 'weeded' back into the ground!"
But I will never live that one down!
Nor will I dare to complain that I don't care that much about okra!