The three of us, each armed with a trowel, set about burying seed potatoes. I don't have the neuromuscular wherewithal to do this quickly. My neighbor's little girl doesn't have the attention span. So, you guessed it, the mom did most of the planting.
Soon, I did all the worrying.
Where were the sprouting potatoes...green life's hope for the bereft? We had planted them weeks ago. Did I do something wrong? Had they rotted?
At last, there it was, a single green shoot, Then some leaves. In a garden overrun with nasturtiums, I should have known better. I even stopped my neighbor and showed her the sprout. A potato, I assured her. Never mind that it had the round, thin leaves of a nasturtium. I needed it to be a potato.
A week later when the real plants burst through the surface, the difference was clear. The stems were darker, the leaves more wrinkled. I pulled up the lone nasturtium.
Maybe this happens when you're 68. A young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love?and Tennyson should have added...an old man's turns to thoughts of seed potatoes. The reasons are easy to see, and hard to face.
There will come a spring when the potatoes don't come up. Because, to speak plainly, what's planted is me. It's not a comforting thought, but a sobering one. Sober is good. I can take comfort in that.