David Hines
Bertha Hines R.I.P.
By David Hines
December 22, 2009

I recently had occasion to deliver the following words:

Decades ago, when lettuce pickers were on strike, Bertha's friends and neighbors had leaf lettuce. It came from her garden. When they offered to pay she said, "Just pray that I keep my health and can grow some more."

They must have paid; she was still out in her beloved garden after her 95th birthday. Bee kept things simple. She didn't need store-bought teeth, nor did she require anyhing but chromosomes to color her hair.

Some of us are well aware that she knew, and was quick to tell, how deep to put the cow manure, how deep to put the chicken manure, and how deep to put the vegetable compost. Mom was a lifelong voter. Some years ago I discovered how close we had come on views of political manure. "They're all crooks!" she said.

The garden provided Beezie with a great deal of wisdom. The garden requires patience and persistence. Having prepared the soil and planted the seeds, a crop doesn't arise instantly. Nor can we control the vagaries of the world. The weather will be what it is, and kids will be tempted to fight tomato battles. Small and consistent ministrations will get the best results that can be had, despite all contingencies.

In this age, instant gratification has become the fad. People expect predictable conditions, seek the grand quick fix, and want the instant result. That's not how God and the garden tell us the world works. Mom showed us that small and simple things, applied consistently, have great long-term effect. The beauty and bounty of her garden was no accident. Decades of patient composting prepared the rich soil in which things easily took root.

As the oldest girl, then as a mom, then as widowed sole breadwinner, Aunt B seldom had opportunity to slow down. Getting it done was a lifelong habit. Even in her recent hospitalization she wanted to get up and do the chores. After all, they won't do themselves! Some of us may have grumbled as we shoveled that compost, but in the fullness of time we sure enjoyed the vegetables.

The vagaries of the weather — political, economic, and cultural — are largely beyond our control. Yet Beezie taught us about patience and perseverence. If we take them to heart, those tools shall serve us well. Bertha prepared a bountiful soil among family and friends. The rest is now up to us.

Rest in peace, Mom. The seeds you've planted in many hearts shall continue to bear fruit.

© David Hines


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David Hines

Born in a mill town, David Hines has seen work as a furniture mover, computer programmer/analyst, and professional musician... (more)


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