You may be wondering how the dog fits into all of this, having mentioned earlier about how the entire family got pleasure from this garden, even the dog. Well, Fred, was a beagle mix. His mother was a full blooded beagle with papers and everything, his father, obviously, was a traveling salesman, never seen or heard from again. Fred looked a lot like a beagle, shape, size, ears, and tail but he had sky blue eyes. Oh, he had the wonderful howl of a hound as well. We saw the ad in the newspaper for puppies that were being given away and we went by to take a look. Fred was the clumsy one of the litter. He seemed to trip over his own paws. He was all brown except for a large white diamond shaped patch on his chest. Any way, we (I) fell in love with him and immediately named him Fred. The name seemed appropriate for the bumbling ball of brown fur. Later the children and I began to refer to him as Frederich von Dog. We thought the name gave him a bit more class.
Fred loved the garden for a cool place to hide and nap during the heat of the summer. I always planted my squash and zucchini in hills. This had the effect of creating a small valley between the hills. The zucchini plants always grew to a huge size. Some of the leaves seemed to be a foot across. On any particularly warm day we could always find Fred snoozing in a cool moist valley under the shade of the zucchini leaves. You could open up a hole in the leaves and try to coax the lazy hound out but he wouldn’t budge. Fred would just lay there, slowly open one eye as if to say “you see me trying to take a nap here, leave me alone” then he would let out a sigh, close his eye and go back to sleep. Fred never messed the garden up, no digging or rooting around. It seemed like he knew that we respected that plot of ground and he respected it as well.
Fred and I were good friends. We have had many conversations out on the patio overlooking the garden, me with my cup of coffee, him sitting by my side listening intently, giving a happy wag of the tail when we made eye contact. I shared my happy times with him and my sad times as well. He would listen without making judgment and with that caring look in his eye that said no matter what goes on in your life I love you. We had the old boy for about fourteen years then he was gone. There were some really tough times in my life after that when I wished I had old Fred there to listen to me. He was a good dog.
As with chapters in a book, things eventually come to an end. My marriage eventually came to an end, Fred went off to dog heaven, the children went off to school, got married, had homes of their own and moved on with their lives. The need for a huge garden no longer existed, but, oh my, the memories that are still there, some as vivid as if it were yesterday. I am in a new phase of my life now, a new chapter you might say. Yes, I still garden, although, it’s smaller now. I found my soul mate and we married ten years ago. One of the best things ever to happen in my life is to fall in love after fifty. We have five wonderful children between us, and nine grand children. With seed that has been passed down from generation to generation, the garden is still growing, producing happiness and new fruit.