Getting to know G. through gardening

G. is very impatient. For starters, forget about driving. He starts swearing almost as soon as he turns on the ignition and traffic makes him speak in tongues.

Another example? He once bought me a very nice, very heavy Mission-style bookshelf. A co-worker of mine was going to come over after work and help G. unload it from his truck and bring it up to my apartment. But G. got to my place about 40 minutes before I got off work, and by the time I got home, he had the bookshelf unloaded and in my apartment.

I was amazed; this is a very big, heavy piece of furniture, and G. is not that tall.

He started explaining all the maneuvering he did to get the bookshelf out of the truck, and I said, “Why didn’t you just wait for help?”

“I didn’t like waiting around,” he said.

But really, how long could he have been waiting? He must have started unloading it almost as soon as he arrived.

“You get impatient,” I said.

“I do,” he said.

And so, gardening with him has been very interesting because he is very patient with the garden. Much more than I am.

The other day, I was planting beans, and I put them in the wrong spot. I just spaced out when I was looking at the layout for the plot. When G. came home, I told him where I’d put the beans and then how we could adjust the plot to still fit everything in. He suggested I go back out, dig up the seeds and put them in the proper place. That did not sound fun to me. I hemmed and hawed. Then he said he would really prefer that the beans go in the space set aside for them in the rear of the garden so the beetles they attract don’t infest everything else. OK, that was a good point.

I went to gather up my tools, and when I got out to the plot, G. had already started digging up the row of seeds and sifting through the dirt to find them. With his help, I was able to collect the seeds quickly and then replant them in the right spot. And while I did this, I thought about how I would have just left it as good enough because I didn’t have the patience to do it over. But G. did.

Then I thought about the hours he has spent cleaning up the strawberry patch and moving runners to expand it in neat little rows instead of just letting it bust out all over. And how he took soil samples and sent them off to the University of Wisconsin for testing. He’s probably brought in more than a dozen truckloads of compost to improve the soil, and he did research to find a safe, organic way to add nitrogen to it. All of this is a blessing because science is not my strength, and I don’t have the patience to do the work needed to improve my knowledge of chemicals and fertilizers.

It’s made me realize that G. and I are alike. We both have limited patience. I suppose it’s good that the things that exhaust mine aren’t the things that exhaust his. We compliment each other. He makes sure the garden gets planted properly, and I read maps and figure out where to go when we get lost. It’s like a match made in heaven.

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