Late this afternoon the phone rang. Buck checked the caller i.d., saw that it was our friend, Harold, and punched the button.
"Hey old man, it's just me," Harold said. That is his opening line anytime Buck answers the phone. Funny thing is, Harold is actually several years younger than the "old man" he is calling.
"You and Miss Beth going to be around the next thirty minutes?" he continued. "If you are, I'll bring you some beans and taters from my garden."
Buck cast an eye over in my direction. "You come on, then. We'll be here."
Sure enough, in about 25 minutes, the doorbell rang, and it was Harold, clutching two plastic grocery bags. While Buck and I oohed and ahhed over the bounty, Harold cleared his throat. We looked up. He looked very pleased with himself, and it was clear he had come to say his piece.
"Now, Miss Beth," he began. Any farmer worth his salt is happy to let just about anybody come and pick whatever he's got out of his garden, but you got to be somebody for that farmer to go out and pick the vegetables for you." At this, Harold couldn't keep from smiling, "And you got to be somebody special for that farmer to wash and snap them beans himself and put 'em in a zip bag for you."
I couldn't do anything but burst out laughing and give old Harold a big hug. He has only been out of the hospital from his hernia surgery a few weeks. His wife, Louise, is just recovering from her second bout of walking pneumonia. And here he is, picking, washing and by God delivering tender, sweet vegetables for our supper.
Most of those little potatoes were about the size of a big marble; tender, earth-fragrant morsels. This is a supper one can eat and then get a good night's sleep, which I intend to do – right now.