Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Return of Victory Gardens

my niece and nephew picking wild strawberries at my brother's "farm" in Maine
Do you remember the early 80's? I do...vividly. Not everything, mind, I just remember the tension meter in our house rising every day at dinner time. No, my Mom was a great cook, my Dad was not a chauvinistic ogre about who eats first; it was the nightly news. Now, to give you some back story-when I was growing up, our family ate dinner together. No excuses, together, no TV, milk to drink, no homework at the table, no hats, napkins in lap, no food fights (well, not often) and the family had dinner together and talked. There may have been a board game or a hand of cards afterwards as well. Cliche, but there it is. But somewhere in the late seventies/early eighties, things changed. I was young, around ten when I started to notice my parents hushed voices and general uneasiness. And suddenly, it was no longer the 8th deadly sin to watch TV during dinner. But it was the nightly news, ONLY the news (my brother tried to trick my parents one night by saying the news wasn't on, but the Monkey's were, so maybe we could watch that instead-so young and foolish). Now I didn't know what a Cold War was (maybe a really organized snowball fight? we did live in Maine after all). Star Wars was a movie that I couldn't watch without hiding and sneaking a quick glimpse through the buttonhole of my Levi's jean jacket. But my parents were scared. I realize this now, back then I thought they just figured we were old enough and the talking about our day over dinner wasn't that exciting for them. But, no...they were really scared. It didn't help that my uncle kept showing up (no literally showing up, he hitchhiked around a lot) and bashing Reagan, spreading solidarity and going on about some guy named Nixon. I remember Samantha Smith, I remember Oliver North and the Iran-Contra scandal. And I know what my parents we feeling because I think a lot of us are there now. It's the feeling that the world is going to hell in a hand basket and we cannot think of how to get off the ride. But it is more than that...the world may be spiralling out of control, and we may think we know what got us to this point. But the real fly in the ointment is that is everyone just took a quick breather and stopped, I mean really just stopped to look at where we are and how we got there, we could take the small steps necessary to make it better. Real people, not politicians, not policy makers or lobbyists or rich folks or celebrities or any of that "I'm powerful, so I'm obviously an expert" nonsense. So, to get to the theme of today's post and the small step I have been thinking about as I take my quick, reality breathers is, a victory garden. High gas prices are driving food prices higher, and that creates shortages and farmers' realize they can get more money selling their soy & corn to make biodiesel and not food and it just keeps spiralling, so my little piece of sanity is to start a victory garden. Will this stop world hunger, no. Will it magically make gas prices plummet, no. Will it ease the burden on one person and allow that person to spread their message of sanity & breathing & "hey the exit for this hand basket ride is over here", absolutely!
The seeds are sown, the potential is there, under the surface, we just need to keep breathing and believe.

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