My father was a laborer in construction. He worked very hard, in all kinds of weather and even when he was sick and should have stayed home. He would get up at 5:30 every morning, have breakfast and go to work. After dinner he did the dishes because my mother had cooked, then he went to watch his westerns on television. He slept through most of the programs before dragging himself to bed at 9 pm.
But, tired as he was, every spring he would plant his garden. As soon as the weather started warming up in April, he would turn over all the soil to loosen it up. They he would rake over it all and even it out. He would buy fertilizer and mix it in the soil. By the end of April and early May he was ready to plant. He made rows where the plant would go, and in between the rows a he piled the soil to separate them. He left the end of each row open so it would continue into the next where the other plants would go. This was his irrigation system. This way, when he placed the hose at the beginning of the first row, the water would travel around into all the succeeding rows, while he was busy weeding and hoeing.
My father went out and bought various plants for his garden, seedling really. He got tomato plants, green peppers, egg plant, cucumbers, and long green squash. He really had a green thumb because all his plants thrived year after year. Every night, after dinner, he would go out and water his plants and weed the garden. Soon vegetables were growing off every vine and plant out there. He was very proud of his work. He grew much too much for us to eat. Every day he was busy packing up vegetables to give away to family and neighbors. It was really amazing the amount of vegetables he would produce from that little yard.
My father was raised in Sicily. His father had a real farm. My father was the youngest male of six children. He spent many years working my grandfather’s farm before coming here to the United States to live in the biggest city in the world. I guess my mother took the man out of the country, but she never took the country out of the man.
Because he worked with his hands most of his life, first with farming and then construction, my father had the biggest hands I have ever seen on a man. He was so strong and often amazed me with what he could do with his strength. But even more amazing was how gentle and loving his hands could be when he picked me up and carried me.