Saturday, July 28, 2007

Home Garden

What's not growing this year that I expected to come back:

(1) Rhubarb - Where have all the red fruits gone?
(2) Raspberries - Long time passing!

What's growing this year that I didn't plant:

(1) Tiny yellow heirloom tomatoes - They're volunteers from last year
(2) Horseradish - Take a ride someplace else, skinny horsey roots
(3) Pumpkin - Halloween compost has come alive

What's growing better this year than last:

(1) Carrots - I planted them where Joe & Sam dug a hole to China, filled in with sand & compost
(2) Peppers - I used Bot Garden seedlings
(3) Beets - Loving beets is a prerequisite for entree into the Sikkenga family; just ask my husband

What's growing worse than last year:

(1) Cucumbers - I started them outside instead of in
(2) Eggplant - Grow, little eggplant, grow! You can do it!

What I planted that never came up:

(1) potatoes - Apparently it doesn't work to bury rotting spuds from the cupboard
(2) onions - Maybe the dog ate them

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


"Studs are much more sophisticated than dangly earrings," says Emma Jane (10), after I've admired her hair and earrings this morning. "You can get flowers." She thinks for a moment. "Or butterflies."

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Haircut

My father offered my nephew, Joe (7), and my son, Sam (9), $100 to cut their hair. Joe's hair was below his shoulders, dark and curly. Sam's hair is also below the shoulders, fluffy and blond. Both had hair in their eyes most of the time.

The money would be given in any form: five twenties, 400 quarters, 100 1's. Each time they got a trim, they would receive an additional $20.

Joe, who has been fascinated with currency since toddlerhood, accepted. He chose a crisp new $100 bill. After all, hair grows back.

Sam declined. He said that he has everything he wants, and besides, he doesn't mind being mistaken for a girl. David Beckham wears his hair long, with Alice bands.

What would you do?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pitching In

The community garden is beautiful! Two months ago, I felt like the Little Red Hen.

"Who will help me dig the beds?" said I.
"Not I," said the Rooster, busily checking email.

"Who will help me plant the seeds?" said I.
"Not I," said the Goose, raising her eyes from a sheaf of papers.

Lately, I've been the Goose... and yet the garden is lush and green and full of food. Everyone has pitched in to plant and water and weed.

Soon, we'll harvest our first crop: basil. Pesto, here I come.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Goodbye, Papa

The last visit, Bill got up with Sam and Emma Jane at 6:30 every morning. They made pancakes. Rich and I slept in. Even though Bill wasn't feeling very well, he still played endless Karrom, Sorry! and Monopoly (a game remarkable for being at once deadly dull and extremely irksome). He never let Sam win, and never minded being beaten.

They played every day. Just like always.

And even though he cried when we hugged goodbye at the Mayo Clinic, and then we all cried, and even though we had to force ourselves to turn and walk away, I still thought we'd see him again. I still thought we'd have at least one more Christmas together.

Goodbye, Papa. We're gonna miss you.

Bill Sparks - June 28, 1938 - July 1, 2007

Papa at the breakfast table with Emma Jane and Sammy, February 2007