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The Garden

Tomato, Daniel J Frey, Forces Film

My father’s professed profession was as an accountant. Most of his years working for the Austin Co., until the day he retired.  

Back when I was a kid, as far back as I can remember, he had an extra garden at a friend’s house. This friend lived in Valley View, Ohio, and had a large piece of property. I can’t say how large but at least 30 acres or more. Well, my father was allowed to raise a garden on this property along side the owner of the properties garden, his name was Ralph, along with our minister, Rev. Tatch, and a few other people from our church for free. No rent. As best as I can figure, it was at least 2 acres in size. Do you have any idea how large that is?  Stop awhile and think about it.  

 I’ll wait . . . 

You have to comprehend this adverse reality. We were living in Northfield, Ohio in the 20th century.  There are two large grocery stores not but a half mile away. Do you have any idea the amount of food a garden of that size produces?  Well, shit, I do.  

 Why, oh why, was this man growing all this food?  

Both of my parents worked. As I said, my father was an accountant and my mother was a registered nurse working at a local hospital called Brentwood. Now listen to this.  It was not unusual for my mother to come home from working all day to find 4 to 5 bushels of corn, 3 or 4 bushels of either green beans, peas, lima beans and or tomatoes waiting for her to can or freeze. This job placed upon her, which was her duty to perform, of putting up the vegetables, would continue from July through sometime into October on a daily basis.  

Now what do you do with all this food? Why yes you store it for the winter. Imagine this.  You have canned maybe 400 quarts of tomatoes. You like canned tomatoes because now you don’t have to go to the store to pay for them. You can just go to the “Junk Room”, which was in the house and where we stored everything and take down a jar.  We had spaghetti at least once a week. Now I want you to start calculating. You should get out a pencil and paper because I will be asking you to do a math problem.  

The test begins now…

If my family has a jar of tomatoes once a week starting on the 1st of November, how many jars of tomatoes will be used by the time the new tomatoes are ready to be canned in July?

Now take that number and subtract it from those 400 jars. Now you have a number of what was left over each year of just the tomato jar count at the Frey household each year. You can do similar calculations for all the other vegetables and fruits you can think of.

I ask, is there some where in the darkest corners of psychology a paper written on the disorder of vegetable hoarding? Does the intense angry eyes of the patient in question have their photo paper clipped to the front of the file? Is my father’s face synonymous with gardening nazis?

Forces Film, Again Begin