Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mr. Krueger's Christmas

“I wish I could be Mr. Krueger ‘cause he has a cat.” The four year old offers a new perspective on Mr. Krueger’s Christmas.
Every year, I think it will finally be the year I don’t cry when I watch this movie. I think it will be the year that I don’t feel depressed at the end. And every year, I’ve failed. Okay, so I fail at many things, like being 5 foot 9 inches and rumba dancing. But this is a failure that has haunted me. Even knowing that it’s fake, that Jimmy Stewart only pretends to be a rheumy eyed lonely man has not helped.
But this year, even though I still got weepy, the four year old made me smile and that changed the whole movie. Mr. Krueger has a cat. He’s lucky. He has that magical, elusive dream withheld from the four year old because her father is allergic and her mother has no intention of having cat hair all over her counters, anyway. When I told the child that in order to have a cat we’d have to get rid of her dad, she said, “Hmmm,” and thought about the idea. “Dad could live in the basement,” she concluded. Clearly, her parents do not rate very high on her list of important items. We’re background noise at best, candy-and-cat-quelchers at worst.
But I’m okay with that, at least today, because I watched Mr. Krueger’s Christmas without sobbing hysterically all the way through. So it’s a successful year, at least for me. For the four year old, she still needs a cat.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Among the Leaves So Green

The sun beams fresh and new, strangers’ voices raise in song and despair makes way for hope. Mountains cast their shadows more tenderly and birds land, chirping, on my shoulder.
It must be seed catalog season again.
I have a goal this year. Well, several. First, I’m going to stretch my wings and move away from tomatoes and melons. Last year, we got nary a one ripe melon. The season was short and wet and they all rotted on the vine before ripening. I’m sure a more educated gardener would have had a solution, but I believe in letting the plants raise themselves, so they got no help from me. In fact, last year I relied on a couple of friends to plant my garden while I walked around trying to figure out spacing, so I really was no help at all to the whole process. I think I’ll try some long beans, maybe an eggplant or two and I’m thinking about committing to asparagus. It’s a long-term investment and I’m not sure I’m mature enough, but it would at least be a new plant to kill.
My second goal is to actually read the Baker Heirloom Seed catalog. Have you seen it? Truly a work of art. Political art, but art anyway. Besides, I think I might be a better gardener if I move away from the “Oooh, pretty” method of choosing plants and try, instead, the “yes, that will grow in my garden” method. I don’t know, but it’s worth a try.
My third goal, and this is a tough one, is to figure out a better tomato staking plan. I hate the cages, mainly because I don’t do any cleanup after harvest so the cages over-winter and, as a result, I have to buy new ones every year. The best solution would be to take them out in the autumn, but since I haven’t done that, ever, not once, then I’d better think of something else. I’m tempted to make my children stand in the garden to hold up the plants. This would accomplish several goals, not the least being a quieter, cleaner house, but I have a feeling a well-meaning neighbor would report me mid-season. And then what would I do for the tomatoes? I’m open to suggestions.
So, happy seed shopping. Oh, and Merry Christmas. I wish you all a very joyous, agricultural New Year.