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By their roots ye shall know them

  • Subject: By their roots ye shall know them
  • From: SECK138@aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2002 17:37:12 EST

In a message dated 11/19/2002 9:15:20 PM Eastern Standard Time, LinQuilt 

>   By Their Roots Ye Shall Know Them
>         By Carol McAdoo Rehme
>    "Carrot, carrot, carrottop," sang my four-year-old son 
> as he placed another wooden block on his teetering tower. 
> "I'm a carrot top!"
>    Earlier that day, my friend Christi had patted him on 
> his flaming head and said, "How are you doing, Carrottop?"  
> When Koy looked blankly at me, I explained that his bright 
> orange hair was nearly the color of carrots.
>    "I'm just like the carrots at the grocery store," he 
> beamed.
>    "The grocery store!" I exclaimed.  "Carrots grow in 
> the ground."
>    It was at that moment I realized my little carrottop 
> had had no exposure to gardening during his young life.  I 
> conjured a vision of sun-ripened vegetables growing in tidy 
> rows and sighed.
>    My own experiences with gardening were limited.  As a 
> young child in Sunday school class, I planted flower seeds 
> in a paper cup for a Mother's Day gift.  I was told they 
> were marigolds, but I can't know for certain.  They 
> withered. In a fourth-grade science class, I sprouted beans 
> in a glass jar.  Lima, navy, string, kidney...I never did 
> find out what kind.  They rotted.
>    Once, early in my marriage, I cleared and planted a 
> small plot.  But overnight my lush-leafed tomato plants 
> were stripped bare; instead, rheumatic branches sagged with 
> fleshy fruit.  Upon closer investigation, I came eye-to-
> hideous-eye with my first tomato worm, and my career as a 
> master gardener was nipped in the bud!
>    How I wished my own city-bred sprouts could experience 
> the earthiness of nature and the awesome lessons I was 
> certain only waited to be learned. 
>    Decisively, I dialed Christi and explained my desire.  
> She obligingly invited us for a series of visits to her 
> small acreage.  I was as eager as my four children - the 
> joy of a garden without the bother of the bugs.
>    In the spring, Christi let us plot her garden by 
> pounding stakes and stretching string.  We crumbled moist 
> clods of dirt, planted onion sets, and patted tiny seeds 
> into the fragrant soil.  During early summer, we plopped 
> belly down to marvel at the dainty green shoots that 
> striped the garden.  We learned how to thin radishes and 
> hoe weeds.
>    What golden teaching opportunities this created.  And, 
> typically mother-like, I took advantage of each visit.  By 
> illustrating the importance of nourishment, maintenance and 
> pruning, I emphasized the hand of the Master Gardener in 
> the lives of my own precious seedlings. 
>    On one trip to the plot, I applied the principles of 
> faith.  Another time I taught that we "reap what we sow."  
> I found an opportunity to explain the parable of the 
> mustard seed.  I even told the story of "The Little Red 
> Hen."  After all, I wanted the children to cultivate the 
> full impact of this garden.
>    And how thrilled we were to reap the bounty of our 
> labors.  With her thumbnail, Christi showed us how to split 
> plump green pods and scrape the sweet peas into our mouths.  
> The kids plucked ripe tomatoes, sun-warmed and heavy.  
> While they played hide-and-seek between the stately, 
> towering ranks of cornstalks, I bent low to fill a small 
> basket with crunchy carrots.
>    "Here, Carrottop, this is for you!"  I tickled my 
> son's face with the feathery leaves.
>    Koy took the crisp, tapering vegetable and turned it 
> end-over-end in his chubby hands.
>    "Hey," he said, and I saw revelation light his face.
>    He examined the fine, hairy roots.
>   "Hey," he repeated, and I felt his wonder.
>    He waved the ferny top through the air.  I waited 
> expectantly to learn which profound lesson of the harvest 
> he had gleaned.  What had most impacted his young life?
>   "Hey!" he finally said, slapping the green leaves 
> against his legs, then pointing accusingly to the orange 
> root.
>    "Everybody is all wrong.  Carrot tops are GREEN.  I'm 
> not a carrottop.  I'm a carrot BOTTOM!"

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