/Evangeline's beans

Evangeline's beans

By Chad Ingram

2020 has been a rough year for everyoneincluding our garden.

Our vegetable garden is a small10-foot-by-10-foot raised box in the corner of the backyard. After being zappedwith frost in mid-June then subjected to an extreme heat wave until recentlythe garden was looking well pretty sad. Very 2020.

Evangeline my three-year-old daughter andI try our best with our watering cans when I get home from work but nothingspurs plant growth like some actual rainfall the sort we've received duringthe past couple of weeks. The plants are now back on track finally yieldingsome harvestable produce including a couple of rows of beans that just becameedible in the past week or so.

Evangeline and I planted the gardentogether after “the new moon in June” which was always the planting advicefrom my grandfather who was a farmer. For me the smell of soil will beforever associated with him. When I was a kid my parents had large vegetablegardens at both the house and cottage and planting those gardens and watchingthem grow was a ritual one I'm now continuing with my own children albeit ina scaled-down fashion.

Gardening is always cathartic but it hasbeen particularly therapeutic this year as we all continue to live through theCOVID-19 pandemic. More than four months into the crisis so many aspects of ithave become normalized; steering clear of others overly frequent hand-washingmaking sure you have a face mask in your car before you head out into theworld. My life in a day-to-day capacity certainly has not changed as much asthose of some. Throughout the pandemic I have continued to travel to and workfrom the small office of the Minden Times whichuntil very recently was closed to the public. I don't go anywhere once I'mhere but I still get out of the house five days a week.

For us at the newspaper the first coupleof months of the pandemic meant writing about nothing but the pandemic everyday which quite frankly was pretty awful. Very 2020. And while sincemid-June in the county we've been able to enjoy some semblance of pre-pandemiclife – hair cuts dining on patios etc. – things are of course still very muchnot normal. There is stiltedness to life a collective unease. The easycasualness of pre-COVID-19 days for now remains gone. Even for me whoadmittedly is still out in the world more than many there is a loneliness tothe pandemic. I miss my friends. I miss the events the county would normally bebuzzing with right now. I miss going to council meetings.

The day is warm and sunny and I pick thefirst bean from our garden handing it to Evangeline. She’s so excited thatwhat she planted as a seed nearly two months ago has transformed into somethingshe can eat. She joyfully devours the bean announces that it is yummy andruns off toward her jungle gym. In that moment I feel like everything is goingto be OK.