When I started gardening as a preteen on my parents farm outside the tiny little town of Marion, Texas, I didnt have any knowledge of same whatsoever. the soil there is a heavy black clay, you do not want to drive on it in the rain or you might not be leaving until dried. Dry it was solid to say the least. I grew a few flowers, worked at various nurseries, distance away, one at New Braunfels, Texas, 15 miles away, same for another in Seguin, Texas. I was an inept, clumsey, ugly duckling employee. Later I apprenticed with a female florist whose husband was an alcoholic sot. Told to folow him to deliver flowers for a wedding to Austin, Texas, 70 miles away, I did until he straddled the divider strip on the expressway after moving from our lane to the one coming from Austin him going agaainst the traffic! A memorable day. Besides being clumsey above, in school I redefined basketball. one could hear my shoes slapping the floor in transit, because of my height of 6 ft 4", I was almost useful. My piano teacher ran screaming away never to be seen again. Singing?, Florence Jenkins would have considered me a competitor, out of tune, out of luck. There was thing I was expert at, slacking off no matter where or doing what. When the class was bored, I ws the chosen automatically to lead thhe teacher astray, thus we probably knew more about their younger lives than any class in school. My father couldnt depend on me to do any farmwork thoughly, he gave up when I drove the tractor in field through the separation fence. I was alright at cotton picking, well almost, and stacking grain sheaves, oops there goes another one falling down. He revenged me by laborious hours turning a crank to shell corn to feed the hogs. During this period I joined the 4-H club, my project of raising a sow pig to maturity became really his, but at Guadalupe county fair, awarded prize for largest litter,13 piggies. Her name?, why Gardenia of course. As the years went on, at age 16, I had a radio show called "The Guadalupe Gardener." I went from school newspaper editor to having a column in the Seguin Gazette for some years. I tried to spearhead a reclamation of a local creek that ran through the town center, learning years later it had been accomplished,, while I gone, was majoring afar in alcoholism.. During that time however, I discovered I was named by National 4-H as the first Texas winner in Home Beautification. I still dream about it, a trip to national convention in Chicago, where fellow 4-Her winner Ray Joy Schneider and I went to a bar and had our first martini. What in the hell does this have to do with gardening?, Hell if I know. I did however continue to garden working for nurseries, slacking off by then an acquired art. Thus I wrote my first poem in Crockett, Texas, "Its too bad, Life doesnt have backgound music,"

Please forgive me.

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