Farm & Ranch Living
A father’s enduring love for his garden bears fruit for generations to come.
Her dad’s love for his garden endures.
To some, an abundant summer harvest might be just that. To me, one in particular meant a whole lot more: a bountiful crop of fruits and vegetables and the legacy of my dad’s lifelong devotion to a plot of ground.
Harvey Glen started his garden in 1973. That year, he and my mom, Carole Jean, bought their dream home. A plain white three-bedroom rambler, it wasn’t much to look at, but the land it sat on was another story. Nestled between pine trees, it hugged the nearby river. It was a quiet little piece of heaven, and the garden became my father’s refuge.
Dad grew all sorts of things— tomatoes, potatoes, pumpkins, rhubarb and raspberries. As for trees, he had pear, peach, apricot, plum and three kinds of apple.
He wasn’t interested in taking up activities like golf. “Why, that’s for city slickers,” he would say. Some time after Mom died, I mentioned that maybe he’d like to play bingo in town at the senior center. He laughed and said, “Only old folks play bingo.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that at 81 years, he was an old folk!
Some people like to go on fancy trips or collect expensive cars, but not my dad. Instead, he wanted to be out in his garden tending to things that, if cared for, would give back tenfold.
The last summer I spent with my sweet dad, who still took plenty of pride in his bountiful garden, was a bumper crop year. He passed away later that fall.
There would be no more spring rhubarb pies, fresh summer cherry tomatoes, or raspberry picking in July. No more peach jam, juicy pears or red and purple plums. No more apples of all varieties and Halloween jack-o’-lanterns for the kids.
But looking back at that last harvest we shared, it felt like God was smiling down on us to lift our spirits in a difficult time.
This cloud has a silver lining.
The next year, my spouse and I sold the house and gardens to a couple of newlyweds. I ran into the young wife later that summer, and she told me how much she and her husband were enjoying all the fruit coming from Dad’s beautiful garden. It was good to know that even though Dad was no longer with us, the garden he so dearly loved lived on.