Mamie is the most amazing worker I’ve ever seen. I went to plant sweet potato sets that she insisted needed immediate attention two days ago. Our weather has been so humid that you could ring sweat out of your ponytail after half an hour outside, but this doesn’t deter Mamie. I couldn’t locate her two days ago because she had gone to Tellico on errands, so by the time I caught up with her yesterday she was raring to go to the garden.
Mamie had said that the carrots, beets and already spouted potato plants could use a bit more mounding of dirt around their foliage.
Before proceeding to plant, I figured that I should mind the maintenance of our other root crops.
As I tended to the rows of carrots and red and white potatoes, she set to killing potato and bean beetles. She loves killing weeds and bugs, which I think is a good way to work through life’s frustrations. If you gotta kill something, a bean beetle is a good place to begin.
Sometimes, Mamie drives down to the garden, but this time she had walked, which meant that she didn’t even have a cup of water with her. She had also neglected to put on her sun hat, but she wouldn’t be convinced to take a break to go get these things. She hoed up one row and down another until she was satisfied that the weeds wouldn’t win the day.
After we finished the upper garden, I set my sights to the lower area which Richard had finished harrowing in preparation for sweet potatoes and a second planting of corn. Next thing I knew, Mamie had been to the house to get the seed corn and was beside me planting the potatoes.
By this time, I had taken a couple of shade breaks, but Mamie just wouldn’t stop or sit. As we worked together, she entertained me with lessons she’s learned in seventy-six years of gardening in the same ground. I keep telling her that she’s got a lot more to teach me, so she’d better slow down. After all, she is the woman who has said for two years that she’s too old to tend a garden. She just laughs and says that she lies a lot. She also says that this is her last year of tending egg layers, but I suspect this is another of her “lies.”
I finally got her to agree to let me cover the potato plants and offered to walk her back to the house. She insisted that she could walk unaided. I kept looking over at Mamie as I worked; she was bending to pull weeds and hoeing another row. At long last, she stopped long enough to ask me if I’d drive her home. She promised to sit down and rehydrate herself.
Less than an hour later, as I arrived at her back door to put away the tools, here came Wonder Woman with a box of matches. “Don’t you just love to rest a little bit and then come out to do more work? I think I’ll go burn my trash pile,” she announced.
All I could think of was a nice long shower and an evening on the couch. They just don’t make mamas like Mamie any more.