Word To My Cousins

Today’s post is “word” to my cousins, wherever you are:

“The rhubarb is coming.”

I know one of my cousins reads my blog (thank you very much, Kaye!) and I’m hoping she’ll tell a few of my other cousins, via the magic of the internet, this very good rhubarb news.

For the sake of transparency, I wanted to let you all know what I’ve been up to in O’Pa’s garden, which is actually Uncle Bob’s garden now.   I’m not exactly sure when it was, but a few years ago I decided a “Green Acres” life was what I wanted and these types of things are hard to accomplish in a 750 square foot “garden style” chicken coop condo.  When there’s a See-Mint pond in your front yard, not much is going to grow.  So Uncle Bob graciously offered up a little bit of his garden to me and it’s been one thing after another.  First I planted a few tomato plants, then I wanted a rain barrel.  A little lettuce and some melons.  How about trying drip irrigation?  By the end of July, we’ve got almost all the makings for BLT sandwiches; just no bacon.  But I’m working on it.  Be patient.

It’s hard to describe what it feels like to kneel in the dirt and dig up little pieces of things and wonder about the past.  I’m always asking “do you think there was a garbage pit back here” whenever I dig up a little piece of a dish or a cup.  Everyone denies it; I can’t help but think burying garbage in the back yard was acceptable in those days.  Why not?

One spring day, I walked into O’Pa’s barn and the smell of 90-year-old dirt hit me square in the face.  I started crying because I could see that old man in my mind’s eye and I knew there was a reason I had been carrying a picture of his grave stone around in my planner all these years.

I wanted to remember.

And I remembered that I had read somewhere that the foods we ate when we were in our mother’s wombs might very well be part of our genetic make-up and I walked out of the barn and I looked at the row of rhubarb my grandfather had planted before I was born.  I thought to myself, my grandfather planted this rhubarb to take care of me.  The fact that he thought of me before I was even born and planted this for me and my cousins seemed like an act of love.

Maybe my mother ate some of Nana’s rhubarb sauce when she was pregnant with me.  When I start imagining this might have happened, I am quite happy to think I have been eating the dirt of O’Pa’s garden from before I was born, when I was just a twinkle in my father’s eye!

If you’re one of my Baumer cousins, the chances are pretty good you’ve got rhubarb dirt in your DNA too.  O’Pa was thinking of you when he planted it.  Word to all of you:  The rhubarb is coming.

We’ll save some for you.

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