One afternoon a few months ago, I was harvesting okra from my garden. My two elder sisters were there at that time and I suggested that stir-fried veggies with okra sounds delicious. I gave a handful to Nang Lita to take home. She took it and was about to pass it to Tita (my other sister) so she could put it in the basket when they saw a brown hairy worm inching along on one of them (okra) and they screamed! Both of them. And guess what happened to the okras. Well, you guessed it right. They flew! and I was laughing so hard, my tummy hurt.
I wasn't born unafraid of those crawly things. I mean, who loves them? But as one becomes a green thumb, worms aren't scary anymore.
Let's talk about true-blue green thumbs. My paternal grandfather was a great farmer. My father loved his garden so much, he went there after office hours, whenever possible. My uncle, a more seasoned farmer, never ran out of root crops and corn and rice. I remember having hearty snack of sweet potatoes and thick hot chocolate every afternoon on their kitchen table - well, almost. Sometimes, there's boiled or fried ripe bananas. You may say, farming or gardening runs in the family, which is true in my uncle's. But I don't see anyone else following my father's passion in his. There's only me and I knew it then when one morning many years ago, my auntie was harvesting peanuts and I offered to help, not really because I was a good hardworking girl who loves to lend a hand but mainly because the thrill of pulling up the plants and counting as each gorgeous peanut is plucked from the roots, was so exciting! When we finished harvesting, my aunt gave me a bucketful. Almost immediately, I run home and cooked my peanuts (boiled unshelled and salted). The next day, I fried the beans. And the next and next. I still had two cups of raw peanuts left and I decided to sow them. I asked my father if I could have a plot for my peanuts in his garden. Of course, he said yes. After a couple of months, their yellow tiny flowers dotted the lower portion of the plants. Then it was time to harvest. I was thrilled to see peanuts dangling from the roots as I pulled each plant up. The biggest and most vigorous had 62! And to think I only sowed two beans per hill, my calculating mind went to work: 62 peanuts / 2 = 31 peanuts! Imagine, each peanut is multiplied 31 times! I showed Papa my calculation and he said, that's wrong. It couldn't be wrong! I insisted. No, he said. Look, each of this peanut has two beans inside, so 1 bean is 1/2 of 1 peanut. So, your calculation should be: 1/2 peanut x 2 beans = 1 peanut and 1 peanut x 62 equals? Sixty-two! I answered. I must have looked so ridiculously animated that he laughed. Although proven wrong, it even excited me more. And I said to Papa, that's so much more than what you'll earn from bank deposit. He just smiled at me. Of course, a kid aged 10 didn't know about cost of labor and materials. What she just saw was the gross and the bliss of tasting the fruit of her labor. That was then the start of my love affair with gardening.