Last week as Skye and I were packing our farmers’ market purchases into the ice chest in our van before heading off on foot for other errands, my phone rang. My friend Dee, the gourd artist, was calling to report a gourd growing in her employer’s garden. You may remember that Dee took some gourds from my house last spring to paint and return. One of the gourds had sat on a shelf in my laundry room for years after I hauled it home from my mother’s Louisiana home, where it had been in her “storeroom” (a.k.a. pantry) for even more years. When Dee had started working on it, she cut into it and removed the seeds. This spring, she planted them in the garden she helps tend. And they came up.
Later that day, my phone let out the little beep it makes to announce a message. It was Dee, sending pictures of the gourd plant and even a tiny gourd among the many blooms.
I called my mother that evening to ask how old the gourd was. She thinks it was 20-25 years old. Of course, her first words were, “Well, I hope she didn’t plant them all!” That is one of the guiding principles of Mother’s life: “Never plant all your seeds at once.” Wise words. Dee reports that she didn’t plant all the seeds; she saved some for another year, as any good gardener does. And she promises to share seeds if she produces any gourds. And I promise to share them with my mother.