Good FridayPosted: March 21, 2008
“You plant tomatoes on Good Friday,” Dad always said. And for the 84 years of his life, he did just that. In his little plot of a garden in the backyard, he’d plant several varieties, stake them as they grew, and harvest them, eat them, give them away. So today, Mom and I will carry on that tradition. We went to Wal-mart (The China Store) yesterday and bought a six-pack of Better Boys. Today, I’ll plant them by the weigela next to the back fence.
It was a long trip to my hometown of Cleveland [Mississippi Delta] yesterday. I left at 7 in the morning and arrived home at 2 in the afternoon. I chose to take the Natchez Trace from Highway 96 west of Franklin and head south to Tupelo, then to Houston, Mississippi and then west on Highway 8 to the Delta. There were two detours on the Trace, plus 20 or more maintenance trucks with flashing yellow lights that poked along at 30 mph. The speed on the scenic roadway is, ahem, 50. Someone told me you could go 57 and get away with it, though. It was just better than all the big trucks on I-40 going 85.
The further south I got, the more green I saw. Trees were taking shape and bursting in white blooms. There were redbuds and daffodils all along the way. Purples and yellows and whites — good Easter colors. It was uplifting to see that gray-brown Delta loam, the fields all cleared and ready for planting.
My mother’s North Carolina jasmine looks as it does in high summer — just beautiful along her fences, and without summer’s bees. Her mock orange is blooming. Her yard is already full of color.
In addition to tomatoes, Mom and I bought other bedding plants, such as dwarf white azaleas, salvia, marigolds, phlox, a Knock Out rose bush, and a new perennial that puts forth yellow flowers. I dug up daylillies from the backyard and planted them next to the house under the front living room window. Today I will plant all the perennials in that same bed and mulch it, and maybe by next year, that bed will sustain itself.
This is the same flowerbed beside the little front stoop that I have written about in my memoir. That porch seemed so big way back when I was a little girl. Now I see how small it really is — as small as life itself.
We bought an Easter Lilly for Dad’s grave, along with a spray of purple flowers. Saturday, we’ll place them in the cemetery. March 31 is the second anniversary of his death.