I recall the day we first moved here to Ellis County.
We left the title company, keys in hand, ready to start our new life. Just me, my wife, and the mortgage lender.
We immediately set about making our new house into a home. For me…that meant we had to have a vegetable garden like we did back at the old place.
To explain…I’ve often romanticized about “living off the land” just like my pioneer ancestors.
However, unless low-speed internet counts as a subsistence lifestyle…I did not have much in common with my rural predecessors.
That is why I needed that garden!
I went outside and began to walk off the measurements for my planting area.
It was time to turn the dirt and start preparing the soil. I grabbed my trusty well-worn shovel…a storied veteran of many agricultural achievements.
Gripping the handle firmly in my hands, I raised it high in the air…and with all my might…I plunged into my farming future!
I can still hear that sickening, cracking sound as the rusted tip of my venerable friend made contact with the titanium-enhanced concrete that posed as dirt on my property.
The good news is that…other than my right shoulder fusing itself to my face…I came out unscathed.
As for my “rusty” companion…a memorial service was held a week later out in front of the Ace Hardware on Main Street.
While there, some knowledgeable locals educated me on the rocky subsurface, for which the area of Ellis County I live on is famous.
It was apparent…if I still wanted to achieve my agricultural goals…I needed to go to the ‘big guns”.
Unfortunately, the hardware store did not rent jackhammers and before I could even ask what aisle they kept the dynamite on…the store manager interjected and asked if I had considered installing a “raised bed”.
(Yeah…I guess that would work too.)
Adopting this new strategy, I had my garden planted in no time.
However, that first year’s garden did not do very well.
The mockingbirds wiped out my tomatoes and I forgot to harvest my squash in time. (Apparently, when you let them grow to the size of a two-man canoe…the flavor suffers a bit.)
For a variety of reasons, my other vegetables performed even worse. Eventually, the end of the season arrived and I had nothing to show for my efforts.
Admittedly, once things had started heading south…I sort of let things go in the garden…only occasionally glancing from my patio toward the scene of my “raised” devastation.
Then one evening, I walked over to my sad plot for one last farewell.
The turf around the perimeter of the bed had become overgrown and as I shuffled through it…my foot wedged itself against something solid on the ground.
I reached down and slowly parted the tall grass…
…and there it was…a big green oblong MIRACLE!
My horticultural salvation had come in the form of a fully grown, perfectly ripe WATERMELON!
How had I not seen something so large right in front of my eyes??
Upon reflection…I knew the answer.
My earlier gardening (LIFE) mistakes had caused me to lose FAITH. I was blinded by disappointment and my own personal failures.
Despite that…and through no effort of my own…I had been REDEEMED.
Armed with a renewed spirit…the next seasons’ gardens have all gone well. I bought a new shovel (Rusty Junior) and I have made peace with the granite surface beneath me.
It is upon that firm ground, that I have come to this conclusion: No matter how “rocky” my life becomes…I am always surrounded by wonderful signs of my undeserved absolution.
Thank you “Miracle Melon”.
From Hall (1.15) Acres…please have a good day.
– Greg Hall and his wife Stephanie reside in Midlothian. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington Business School and serves as COO at Spring Creek Restaurants. With his writing, Greg…a former award-winning, small town columnist…strives to use a positive perspective, humor and personal observations to connect with readers from every walk of life.