I inherited my love of gardening and my green thumb from my late Mom. She could grow everything from roses to currants to beans to tomatoes. It was this latter that gave a new meaning to green thumb for Mom as we shall see in this gardening scenario from my memoir.
One August day, Mom comes in the side door from the garden. She is carrying an open tomato juice can and she is almost scowling.
“Sharon,” she calls as I stand at the top of the stairway. “Have a look.”
Not knowing what to expect, I hurry down and join her at the door. I lean forward, my nose almost touching the can when Mom reaches inside and hauls out a wiggling creature, a mini-Martian with aerials and a big, ugly body, green mixed with white and black. I jump back before it can attack me.
“Green hornworms,” Mom says. “They won’t bite, but they will gobble up all the tomato leaves, and then the tomatoes won’t have anything to hang onto because the branches will collapse. Sharon, they won’t hurt you.” She shoves the tin closer to my frozen face. This time I just want it all to go away; I want to run up the stairs, but I can’t tear my eyes away from these creatures. So, I move closer and stare again into the can and the squirming critters within. Mom shrugs, turns around, and takes the can of wrigglers outside. I peek through the screen door at the same time she turns around again.
Is she smiling? What’s so funny? Those little monsters are worse than the blackspot on Mommy’s roses. I’m glad she is taking them away from the house. The house must be kept safe. We must be kept safe.
I don’t get it. I am still too young to realize that sometimes evil grows from within.
(From Chapter 2 Practicing Gardening and Religion, The Enemies Within Us – a Memoir, Copyright Sharon A. Crawford, 2020, published by Blue Denim Press)
There was more evil in my childhood than tomato hornworms. But there was also some good that has carried forward to this dayt. And that includes my love of gardening. I write about gardening to honour my Mom for passing down the gardening bug. That is something I relish doing and find it helps bring my stress level down. Sometimes I wonder if Mom’s gardening helped her cope with Daddy’s cancer.
Read more stories of my growing up the only child of elderly parents when your dad “gets” cancer.
The Enemies Within Us – a Memoir is available from
Happy Reading – and to enjoy even more – read while sitting in the garden.
Only Child Writes
Sharon A. Crawford