In new jersey this weekend the dwarf iris bloomed, the crocuses got started and it was a big come down to get back home in Oneonta where not even the snow drops have made any effort to come up and bloom. While we were gone over the weekend the seeds from Mowing High arrived and I have to plan the reconfiguration of the beds. I think there are now 16 beds at 3X2, but I want to change the 8 beds at the east and west ends of the garden so that I can plant carrots and onions in rows, much more satisfying to me than throwing out a bunch of carrot seed and then ruffling up the dirt, a plan I have used to some success in the past, but a real affront to those who believe that rules count. Luckily, on our street, Woodside, the best street in Oneonta, and arguably the best street in the whole USA, the folks are accepting of the many experiments in living their neighbors are likely to perform.
It all has to do with space as my space maven, Alexa, might well agree. Back in the good old days post WWII Woodside was made possible by the action of a group of professors at the then Teachers College at Oneonta which is just over the hill. The professors were concerned that collegiate high spirits would make Woodside into a raceway. The professors convinced the city council to cut off the end of Woodside, thus creating a dead end, that left a fine playground for neighborhood kinds. Cars drove slowly. Kids played baseball. Summer nights rang with the weird signals the kids communicated in their endless games of manhunt.
Sometime on a nice evening in late July all the neighbors gather for the Annual Woodside Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest. Contestants, divided according to age, running from three to eighty-three, stand, toes carefully, legally, placed behind the chalk line, finish chewing the chunk of watermelon to get at a good seed, and then gather up our own special technic. I almost won once. Winners have actually shot a seed twenty feet. We all know when a winning spit has been spat, but everybody has to have their chance before the final decision is made. At that moment Dave goes up to his front steps and picks up the royal garment, the king suit and the crown. And we have a new king. After that there is the ice cream and the lemonade. Does anybody think of the sadness in this past year’s contest? Does anyone wonder what the process of hybridization is doing to our fun? Science, which I normally admire, is going too far. I’m all for progress, but you can go too far too fast. It is often the case that eager experimenters, finding themselves somewhat successful want to make themselves perfectly successful and we will have to pony up the cost. Better to quit while you’re still ahead, and that’s why, as it is getting late, I’ll take this convenient moment to say good-night.