GIFT GIVING FROM THE GARDEN
One of the principles I learned from the life and teachings of Jesus was to give a gift (whatever it is) with no strings attached and without expecting anything (even a “Thank You!”) in return. At my Christmas talk with my 85 year old former secretary, she reminded me that I had taught her that principle. After she retired, she took care of her daughter with MS daily for over 15 years.
As I have already written, this has been a bounty year in the garden and orchard. What could I do with all those extra grapefruit, oranges, kumquats, lemons, beans, lettuce, spinach, ripe tomatoes, turnip and mustard greens, carrots and watermelon radishes?
After Hurricane Harvey in 2017, a former client from 30 years ago sent me some apples and Apple Butter from Michigan. This Christmas I sent her a box of grapefruit and Clementine oranges. I sent my cousin in North Carolina, who went through two hurricanes this past year, a box of Citrus fruit. She called me from a store in town, because her cell phone didn’t work from her home, to tell me her daughter bit into one of the intensely sour Calamondin oranges without reading the directions to use them in iced tea.
We have a photo of our 2 year old grandniece in East Tennessee eating her first Rio Red Grapefruit. I’m not sure she liked it, but our nephew wants more. My college roommate who lives in Louisiana has just had open heart and nearly died. What could I do to salve his grief over not being able to fish, I sent him a box of fruit. Maybe he will get well enough to come fish with me. One of my former clients (83) from Rockport who now lives in Gun Barrel, TX called me after Harvey to check on our well-being. She called me this Christmas to wish us a Merry Christmas. I learned she is now in a wheel chair. I sent this woman, raised on a farm, a bag of turnip greens as well as fruit. She called to say the box was like having Christmas all over again.
Before Christmas, I sent a box with greens and fruit to my cousin and 100 year old Aunt Clarence in Roswell, NM. She has always been a giving and loving aunt. She has supplied me with Avon Body Wash for over 50 years. We have spent Thanksgiving or Christmas with her since 1973. This Christmas I took her greens, beans, turnips, tomatoes, and fruit. She is blind and hears only out of her left ear. She eats a full plate at every meal. I read to her the 16 page story of her younger sister and my mother’s life. We both had tears in our eyes.
Yes, I have given from this garden to neighbors, church staff, older church members, Spray-N-Grow staff and some of my wife’s friends. I helped my new neighbor put in her new raised bed garden with various plants and seeds I had. She is delighted to have ripe tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, lettuce, spinach, and blooming snap peas.