My Potato Patch: A Retrospect

I know it’s been a while.

I know.

Let’s put that behind us and move on to greener pastures.

Or dead ones.

The potato patch, to be specific.

Potatoes are a cash crop and worth the effort.

[No, not really.]

Potatoes grown in the garden are amazingly different from their supermarket counterparts and worth the effort.

[No, not really.]

Potatoes are so easy to grow and rarely fall victim to pests or blight and are worth the effort.

[No, not really.]

Like corn, it seems, every year, I grow potatoes, regardless of what my notes from the previous year tell me to do. I think the main reason is that I always have an empty planting box and withered, sprouting potatoes from the year before in the lower garage. It just seems silly not to plant potatoes.

So I do.

And then I listen to my dad bellyache about it for the next several months since I often guilt him in to digging them for me. He’s probably only really done it two, maybe three, times. But you’d think I had him out there slaving away every year since 1995 the way he goes on about it.

“Potatoes? Potatoes! Why’d the Hell you plant potatoes? I’ll buy you potatoes. I’ll pay you not to dig them. They don’t taste any different from the store. Geez”

…and on and on and on.

So it was this year as well. And I really had no intention of having him dig the potatoes. Really, I didn’t. But a series of events forced me to ask.

First, he was going to paint the barn. Then, when that didn’t pan out, he offered to paint the lattice on the screen porch. When we needed to use the parking spot where the lattice was laying, we farmed that project out as well.

Clearly he was in my debt.

And yet, still I refrained from assigning him potato duty. Not that I didn’t tease, and threaten. Sure I did. But I had no plans to go through with it.

Until that fateful Saturday in November.

He had willingly offered to accompany Charlie to his second annual Robotics tournament. Charlie had to be there at 8 am. It was a 45 minute drive, which meant they would have to leave at 7:15 am. No easy task for Gramps. He’s not a morning guy. I totally get that and it was one of the reasons I was delighted he wanted to go. –I take after him; I’m not a morning guy either.

The other reason was that last year’s tournament went all day.

All day. A robotics tournament, all day.

To be fair, I did want to make sure he didn’t feel like he had to do it. I even said, “You don’t have to do it, dad. I was planning to dig potatoes tomorrow, so if you don’t want to go, maybe you can dig the potatoes?” heh heh.

No, no, no, no. My plan worked! He was going. I was thrilled. My dad is the best!

Unfortunately, at 7:15 am the next morning, the loft was pitch black.

Pitch black.

So I threw the covers off, threw some jeans on, whipped my way-too-long-hair-for-a-46-year-old into a ponytail, screamed some things like, “WHAT ARE THOSE CLOTHES IN THE BATHROOM? WHY ISN’T YOUR BED MADE? ARE YOU READY? DO YOU HAVE YOUR STUFF?”

I threw the car into reverse and…

…nearly backed over my mother.

Who had run down the driveway in a panic wearing her gigantic fur coat that she keeps at the loft to tell me, “He’s up! He can take him. It’s fine!”

Which I knew was not true. He might be up, sure. But was he ready to go? Was he in the car? Why was my mother in the driveway, freezing her butt off? Or not freezing her butt off since she was wearing a big bear fur, or coyote. Or something.

“No, no. It’s fine. Just tell him he can either come relieve me at noon or dig the potatoes.”

And then I left her in the dust.

Ironically, it was also to be the first snow storm of the year. Which started around 11am and made it silly for him to drive all the way in to town to relieve me, and even more important for me to get the potatoes dug. And so began a day long email exchange:

The first, from my dad:


In between these two emails he called me and we decided he shouldn’t drive in. And he grudgingly said he’d dig the potatoes.

By this time, I was starting to suspect he was just messing with me. –That he had dug the potatoes hours before and was simply having fun at my expense. I went along with it, acting enraged.





He called me again, to ask me where the garden fork was. He was really hamming it up. I mean for crying out loud. I continued to go along with it. “DAD! It’s in the garden! If it’s not in the garden it’s in the barn hanging up! Where have you looked?!”


And he was gone.


The sloth really didn’t dig the potatoes. He laid on the couch, watching the snow and reading a book all day. Morgan and my mom both tattled on him, so I know it’s true.

And, after the snow melted a few days later, I went out to the garden to see this:

The garden fork, in the potato bed.

So he’s a liar, too.




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  1. Michelle says

    This isn’t really a post about potatoes, it’s a post about how stellar your relationship is with your Dad. Dammit and effing would be just cause to delete a child from their Will in most family situations! Your Dad ROCKS!

  2. says

    Michelle, you are correct. My parents both rock, actually. I’ve just decided that my family is my best material. Why wait for everyone to die so I can write about them?

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