I am cultivating the largest Johnsongrass I’ve ever seen. It sprouted up in our Fayetteville flower bed between visits and is so impressive I feel compelled to watch it grow. It wants to live.
It’s my personal 4-H project. I wonder if I could enter it in the State Fair of Arkansas?
Daddy would be mortified. Thomas Tate had some of the cleanest fields in Mississippi County. Driving anywhere with him meant factoring in lots of extra time. Like all great farmers, he drove slow enough to watch cotton bolls open from the highway. And he stopped unannounced to chop the errant Johnsongrass growing mid-field. On our way to anywhere, like playing a game of I Spy, we scanned the fields looking for offensive weeds standing taller than the crops, a slightly different shade of green, showing off, teasing Daddy, testing him. He stopped the truck, grabbed his trusty hoe from the back, walked to the annoying thing and whacked it down. No matter how muddy the field. No matter where we were going. To a basketball game or wedding or funeral…
We patiently sat inside the musty truck watching and waiting. We had no Iphone entertainment. No Angry Birds to pass the time. Just conversation and maybe a Barbie in tow.
Growing up that way, I am naturally drawn to weeding pulling and flower deadheading. Even at a friend’s house or restaurant, I can barely restrain myself. I’m surprised that I drove back to Dallas and left that mammoth Johnsongrass free to grow in Fayetteville. A weed is but an unloved flower.