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When Work is Play

October 13, 2010

I’ve seen a lot of men planting beds of pansies this week. It’s time to get them in the ground, when it’s not so hot that they will wilt but still warm enough to let them put out roots before the freeze comes. I always wonder, about the men I see digging in the dirt on their hands and knees. I wonder whether they are getting minimum wage, or whether they are day laborers willing to work for $3/hr, because 12 hours at $3/hr cash is enough to buy dinner for their families. I wonder whether the people who own the houses in front of which they are planting winter annuals will let them use the bathroom, and if so, whether it will be the guest bathroom or the one off the laundry room. Will they bring out a cooler of ice water, or feed them lunch, realizing that the cost of a Big Mac Meal might be a significant portion of the man’s daily pay.  I  know these are things to consider because I am lucky enough to be good enough friends with people who work as day laborers that they share them with me.

I also wonder what they think when they drive by, sitting six in the bed of a pickup, on their way to or from a job, and see me in front of my house, on my hands and knees, with F.C.U.K sprawled across the backside of the French Connection U.K. sweatpants I wore so often to chemotherapy, setting out pansies. I know for a fact that they think, correctly, that I’m doing it wrong. I’m not strong enough to break through the Texas clay and limestone in my yard with a shovel or a trowel, or a hoe, so I got out the hose with the super-high-pressure nozzle attached, and offered up a prayer of thanks for my plumber friend who showed me this nifty gadget in the hose section of Home Depot, and fixed it up with an on-off lever that even I can use. Instead of digging, I  blasted holes in the packed dirt in my yard to plant pansies in, raking the weeds and dead grass roots out of the soupy mud with my pink breast cancer awareness gardening tool Chris gave me for Christmas two years ago. Immediately, I was splattered in mud, but my mad plan worked. I planted a flat of pansies in the window of time between when I bought the pansies after lunch and when I had to leave to pick my kids up at school. I even had time to clean my tools, spray the mud off the sidewalk, and shower most of the mud off of me.

I have four flats of pansies left. I know what I am doing tomorrow.

I probably could find someone do it for me, the right way, with a spade, not the high pressure hose. But I won’t.

From → Garden

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