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by Carl Wayne Hardeman

“The fields're all bare and the cotton won't grow.
Me and my family's got to pack up and go.
But I'll make a living the Lord only knows. I'm busted.”
~ Harlan Howard, sung by Charlie Pride

The economic situation is bad. Many of us have seen our retirement savings evaporate to where one day we may be busted, too. I will make one economics observation. Soviet economist Kondratieff showed that capitalistic societies have long cycles where grandchildren forget the lessons of their grandparents. They spend beyond their means, become burdened with debt, and have another depression. We are long overdue since 1929.

Our parents and grandparents lived through the Great Depression, but today we have forgotten what it means to live within our means. For those of us who grew up poor, at least in material things, we enjoyed things back then that money can’t buy, like close family, friends, church services, reunions, dinner on the grounds, fishing, and yes, gardening.

If we lost just about everything, except family and a small place to live, we would simply be right back where Mimi and I were when we were growing up, and that wasn’t so bad. We never missed a meal, and sometimes now cornbread with buttermilk sounds better than a steak with salad and baked potato. Sometimes.

We think of the Victory Garden as a museum of gardening. There are skills and practices and knowledge that need preserving. Who knows when we may have to do such things to eat? Sounds a little scary, but our parents and grandparents had to do just that.

Fortunately, my son-in-law Scotty is one of the best hunters and fishermen in the midsouth; with his prowess and the rest of us gardening, we can make it. Yes We Can!

Note the picture of Scotty (left). Reckon we can get a few meals out of this catfish? Fried, broiled, grilled, baked -- you name it, we can eat it.

Who knows, but I suspect we would once again find more joy in the simple things. Friends and neighbors would be helping each other. More of us might be in church on Sunday. Singing together may be better than each of us listening to our individual iPods. And missing American Idol might be a good thing.


Carl Wayne tells us about himself:
"I write gardening articles for the Collierville, Tennessee, Independent, the Southaven, Mississippi, Press, and Desoto Magazine, all from a Southern perspective. I point out the correct pronunciation of ants (aints) and peonies (peOnies) and advise always to plant hydrangeas on the north side of the house. I've been in software development forty years, the last twenty with a large overnight express delivery company. I have taught computer science as adjunct faculty at local universities over twenty-five years. We have a small farm in Pontotoc County, Mississippi, where we raise a large garden with my in-laws. My in-laws were there when the REA strung the first electric wires in that area. They were killing hogs. That night for supper they had liver and lights."

Carl Wayne leads the Collierville (Tennessee) Victory Garden, and edits BodockPost.com. He is available to speak to groups at no charge. Contact him about visiting or volunteering for the Collierville Victory Garden or about speaking engagements at 901.485.6910 . . . or write him at mymaters@yahoo.com.

Read more of Carl Wayne's stories at USADS:
Southern Snakes
Me and Mimi in the Garden
Mississippi ~ the Soul of Dixie
Slide down my cellar door!
Green Landscaping ~ Eco-friendly gardening

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