I think my title is a little misleading.
It sounds as though after a full and long life of passionate gardening I have decided to take up another equally passionate cause and am, regretfully, laying down my hoe, rake and cultivator.
Uh . . . no . . . couldn't be further from the truth.
The truth is that I have only been a gardener in my idealistic dreams.
The truth is that I have often attempted gardening only to find that my nurturing of plant life has not improved any since the previous year when I thought I could reap a harvest.
The truth is that my gardens have either resembled more the jungles of Viet Nam or the rocky deserts of Southern California than Eden.
I really want to be a gardener! I feel like I'd be a better person if I was a gardener. I mean isn't there something almost sacred about "tending the garden," bringing forth in abundance, being fruitful and multiplying?
Oh, wait, that last one is childbearing, not gardening. I can do that.
But this year, it's okay. I can give up gardening . . . idealistic dreams and all.
Because of Earl.
Earl and I have formed a friendship. Earl and I have an agreement. Earl has made it okay for me not to garden.
Here's how it works.
Earl does all the work. He plants and hoes and weeds and waters and cultivates and fertilizes. And when the time is right, he harvests.
And then he lets me come and get all his fresh-from-the-ground produce.
I can call ahead and he'll tell me exactly what he was able to pick that day.
He'll tell me how the weather, pests, and weeds were for the crop that week.
He'll even let me pretend it's my own garden and do my own picking if I'm needing a little dirt up the nails, sun on the neck, and wind in the hair.
That dear Earl. He does all this for me!
And for the 436 other people who stop by his farm stand every week.