Today, my Grandpa Leeds would have been 100. Both of my grandfathers were outstanding. Good husbands, big sacrificers, they teased big, and they loved all the babies. This grandpa was a farmer and rancher. Cows, corn, soybeans, watermelon, cantaloupes, pecans – you name it, he produced it. He did so commercially, but also the big garden by the house.
He’d get a big kick out of my attempts this spring to start a garden for the first time. He had a motorized tiller and rich Ft. Gibson river-bottom soil. Most importantly, he knew what he was doing. I’m going to use half whiskey barrels as my “raised beds” and hope for his green thumb.
He was funny, better looking than Will Rogers, easy going and took chances. I get my over-the-top eternal optimism (almost to a fault) from him. My son got his dimples.
I had my first car accident at age 6. That’s correct. He let me drive a farm truck, while he was throwing off square hay bales from the back. I couldn’t see over the dashboard, so he placed a metal toolbox under my butt to elevate me. I could then see out and reach the gas and brake with a full extension of my legs and tippy toes.
It started off well. Going really slow and just keeping it in a straight line. But he yelled “whoa” and I thought he said “go” and there you have it. A six year old drove a truck through a gate down at the pasture. He was fine. I was fine. The gate was not fine, at all. And I loved him for many reason, but above all, he always believed in me. Both of my grandpas gave me that – the greatest gift you can give a kid.
As a mother, that story scares me to death. I trust my 12 year old with the microwave but that’s about it. Time to let him drive a car. Or better yet, I’ll let HIS grandpa, the little baby in the photo above, take up that task.
But I’m growing the garden this year. It may be an unmitigated failure, but it’s on.