Sunday, October 28, 2018

28. Wheat State

I've thought a lot about my beloved Grandpa as I worked in my yard this summer. The last time he came for a visit, he looked out the window and brainstormed with me what I could do to rein in the weeds and tame the hill.
This man was one of my best friends, and he knew it. He told me once that he wanted me to get a hobby. I told him I had my writing and he reminded me that I could talk to him any time. But he also said that he was an old man and wouldn't be around forever. The way he saw it, a hobby would help keep me company when he was no longer around.
That conversation has replayed in my mind repeatedly all summer. I wish so much that I could tell him about my efforts, my successes, and my progress in my backyard. I want to tell him that gardening became a hobby and helped me grieve his death.
When we talked two years ago, I joked about planting wheat. To my surprise, Grandpa didn't completely laugh off the idea. We talked out the pros and cons of planting wheat. I was grateful that he took my considerations seriously.

For more than 40 years, he had a side hustle that produced beautiful leather work for horse hitches including the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales. He did business as the Wheat State Hame Company. I suggested wheat because what I want most on that hill is to look out and see plants and flowers that remind me of the beauty of Kansas. Sunflowers and wheat, iconic Kansas images.
Whether I plant wheat or not is irrelevant. What is beautiful is knowing how proud Grandpa would be of my efforts and my willingness to make something of that space with my own sweat, wits, and imagination.
Who knows? Maybe I'll throw some wheat up there in his honor after all.
Gramps and me in 2015

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