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Grow your own garden-variety metaphors

My dad at about 15, looking a little weedy himself.
It's especially gratifying to pull up the weeds with deep roots. Pulling creeping charlie satisfies in a different way: I'll follow their wimpy little entrails wherever they've crept thus far. I got nothin but time, at least for the moment and as far as I know. But the sturdy-yet-innocent-looking weed -- the one that requires more of a tug than expected, the one that intended to stay for the duration, despite my big plans for basil and tomatoes -- that's the weed that gives me such pleasure to pull. And the earthworm that's exposed in the process? "Churchy, it's dinner time."

Here's to the gardener who taught me everything I know: my dad. (And I mean this as no insult to him, although some may wonder, since I'm not exactly Martha Stewart at anything.) When I was living up north at the family's lake place, Dad warned me never to plant before Memorial Day weekend, or risk a heartbreaking frost. Even though I'm now 200 miles south, it's been a cold spring and things have been busy around here. Today seemed like the perfect day to start prepping the garden.

My dad died on the Friday night of Memorial Day weekend, 19 years ago. It happened unexpectedly, a massive heart attack. He was in his late 50s. None of us, least of all him, expected him to die so young. As was his custom, earlier that spring he'd started seedlings under grow lights in his basement. There were dozens of tomato plants, of course, but also flowers for my mom, including forget-me-nots. As far as we know, he'd never planted those before.
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