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Being a Kid Again

by edhawk on April 25, 2016

I remember that in the second grade, we cut the top off of our one pint milk cartons and filled the remaining little box with dirt. Then we were to put a bean into the center of the wet dirt. All of this was done under the tutelage of our second grade teacher, Mrs. Arinson, a kindly, older lady whose gray hair was always pulled up into a bun and she never wore anything but long, plain, black dresses that only hung in straight lines in a most unbecoming style.

While we were all farm kids, and had already worked many jobs in the fields and in the barns at such an early age, none of us had been so intimate with a single, little plant.

Mrs. Arinson told us to keep the dirt in our cut off milk cartons moist, but not wet, warm but not hot. Each morning, after the school bus dropped us off at the elementary school, we’d rush to put our coats up on the hooks at the back of the class room, then we’d make haste to the cut up milk cartons lining the windows to gaze at their progress, expecting something to happen, but for days, there was nothing.

Then, after four or five days, a clean, white nub, but barely a pin head, sparkled in the dark, moist dirt, just one little pinhole of whiteness.

Then, the next day, the single, little flash of light took more form and rose up a little, showing itself as a tiny, nearly formless arch, white and bare. And the little kids were wondering what was really happening here, in these dirt filled, cut up, cardboard milk cartons?

If the kids were to park themselves over the half milk cartons and stare at this whiteness in the center of the dark brown dirt, nothing would happen. But, to look into the cut off cartons each morning, morning by morning, there was much going on, day by day. By about the fifth or sixth day, the thickening white arch would thicken and then break open the cloak of dirt on one end and present a pale green, smaller version of the dry bean that was originally stuffed into the ordinary, school yard dirt. Now, this was a miracle to these seven year old second graders, and once again, to Mrs. Arinson.

Within a few more days, the little bean buds would expand and develop broad, green leaves, and then, pretty soon, the bean plants would be getting too big for the top cut milk cartons. Pretty soon, Mrs. Arison would send the kids home with their milk carton bean plants to be transplanted into the various family’s vegetable gardens.

flower buds

The tiny nubs are just barely visible in these cups

Right now, some sixty years later, I’ve got two dozen little paper mache seed cups sitting on my kitchen table. I bought some rose seeds from Ebay and then, while at the Dollar Store, I bought four packets of flower seeds for one dollar. I bought some potting soil and filled the cups with it, then planted the different flower seeds in the center of the moist soil in the cups. I did this last Thursday, today being Sunday. Just like sixty years ago, the little, white nubs are showing themselves. Wow, it still works. Where will these little nubs go? Does it still work?

Just like that seven year old kid, I have to admit, I’m only hoping that these white nubs will really become the flowers they are supposed to be. Holy, Gee Whiz, how can I wait???????

Is this going to work?

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