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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Rotten Green Thumb

English is my mother's fourth language; there was singsong Vietnamese, cacophonous Cantonese,  and vowel-laden French before the jagged English of her adopted Canada.  To a non-native speaker, English's idioms amuse at best but abuse more often.

When a casual acquaintance declared that my mother had a "green thumb,"  she was mightily offended at this Canadian insult.  How is it that her thumb could be called green, like some rotten and festering decay?

Oh, how I wish for that green thumb now, even rotten and festering...perhaps that organic decay would help my little garden grow.

My thumb is not verdant but rather brown and caked with my attempts to coax and cajole some sustenance from the soil.  I planted salad when it was too hot and beets when it was too cold; my arugula went to seed and the squash blossoms could never get their timing right to mate.  I even tried a bit of squash artificial insemination.  A little bulge did tease my excitement, only to be knocked to the dirt by an excited Australian Shepherd.

Despite my ineptitude, inexperience and neglect, the four raised boxes Glenn built did produce. Next year, next year, my thumb will be green.