July 2, 2005 Saturday
There is a saying that must be foreign to your Southwest region, but it is well-known to the Midwest where I was raised: “Knee-high by the Fourth of July.” This refers to how high the corn should be by mid-summer. My small backyard plot here in Norfolk, Virginia I know, is nowhere near the Midwest. For their late start my crops are fighting, and have in two weeks achieved above-ankle height. I’ve taken to calling it my Violent Garden, my little three-by-five foot patch just now showing signs of growth, for the all the mistakes I am surely making. This week I am an old pro, even opting now for gloves… Eventually my spade gave way and broke in two, but not before I was almost completely done breaking new ground. I have two columns of lettuce, two of tomatoes, and one of jalapeno peppers. I thought you might like that last part. The elderly man who lives next door has seen me out often, and how strikes up small conversations, and brought over a few pamphlets about the tabernacle he goes to. The neighborhood I am guesting in feels very much like home.
You’re getting into old movies too? I like Katherine Hepburn too, if for her spirit, but I could never quite like Philadelphia Story. I feel like I am supposed to, as if I am missing something, as with so many other Golden Agers. For example, I go into watching Citizen Kane with such high expectations (“the best ever!”), and give Casablanca (“the epitome of film making!”) again my full attention, but I cannot help but feel eventually bored. Gone With the Wind is as dry as toast. But I pulled out your list of greatest movies Friday night and gave it another shot. The only yet-unseen film I could find locally was Vertigo, but it was happily worth the price of admission and had me guessing all the way to the end.
Do you have a lot of free time? When you do, you do find yourself always looking at the clock, intrepidly tripping over the seconds? Last night I wrote out a list of essentials to complete this weekend; when I was done I laughed and thought, “what is that all, work part two?” The result of this duel has bene to do at least two things at once. For instance, I’ve started listening to my Spanish CDs for the eventual (Navy) cruise to Europe I will be going on in a year, to get more from the experience, and I did my enunciating repeat-backs as I worked outside today. The movies were perfect to fold laundry to. But I feel both busy and relevant, which has been its own reward.