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Apr 10 2007

Growing, growing, please be gone!

It started innocently enough. Three small, wimpy rhubarb plants from the local nursery.

Sorry, they told us, you won’t have a rhubarb harvest this season.

Don’t worry, the grandma told us, I’ll bring out chopped rhubarb when I come to visit.

The husband lovingly dug a rhubarb patch in the heavy clay soil. He added a tributary to the underground drip line to water his beloved rhubarb. He filled his rhubarb patch with Miracle Gro soil; only the best for his little plants. It was his Lutheran duty to have a rhubarb patch; he called it A Mission from God. The three small, wimpy plants were set into the soil and the water turned on.

And the rhubarb began to grow.

The weather grew warm, then hot. Summer storms lashed the landscape.

And still the rhubarb grew.

A new member of the family was born. Chaos reigned in the home.

And still the rhubarb grew.

The weather grew cooler, the days shorter. The first rhubarb harvest of the season was celebrated that summer, despite the naysayers at the nursery, with much crisp-making and jam-making.

Winter came. The rhubarb slept.

Then, like a slumbering giant, the rhubarb awoke, looked around, and began to grow.

Spring storms came. Freezing rains, dangerous winds, mice infestations.

And still the rhubarb grew.

Summer. Long, hot days. The rhubarb looked across the yard and saw the roma tomatoes threatening its yard domination. The rhubarb doubled its efforts.

And grew.

The roma tomatoes, not to be outdone, grew taller and stronger.

The gardener hustled to keep up, harvesting and harvesting. Roasted tomato sauce, salsa, gazpacho. Crisps, jam, chopped rhubarb in the freezer. Again. And again. And still again.

Winter came. The rhubarb slept.

Spring.

Summer. The rhubarb and roma tomatoes form an accord, vow to take over the yard.

The gardener curses her husband and his Mission. His “Lutheran Duty” to have a rhubarb patch. The freezer fills. A new, larger freezer is purchased. The freezer again fills.

The rhubarb creates shade in the treeless yard. Small children frolic in its cool shadow. Young lovers whisper sweet nothings among its leaves. Cats hiss at it, dogs cower in fear.

Hail storms damage the leaves. The rhubarb howls in anger and grows taller and stronger.

The gardener curses her husband louder. The freezer groans under the weight of the chopped rhubarb. Three years worth of rhubarb. Neighbors hide behind curtains when she knocks, heavily laden with rhubarb gifts.

Winter comes again. A bad winter. Four blizzards in four weeks. Several feet of snow for months. Unusual winter. The gardener hopes and prays the rhubarb learned a lesson and will be humbled this year.

Spring comes slowly, quietly. A horticulturist, called to investigate the trees and bushes that succumbed to the winter, is startled by the early growth of the rhubarb. The gardener wipes away a tear as her visions of a rhubarb-free summer crumble like the topping on a crisp. It is not to be.

And still the rhubarb grew.

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I’m entering this post over at scribbit’s April Write-Away contest. Go on over and check out some of the other entries!

scribbit: The April Write-Away Contest A Blog About Motherhood in Alaska

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  1. Rhubarb resurrected

    […] sweet innocent new owners, that’s Roger the Rhubarb Plant Hell-Bent on World Domination. Roger was a beloved family member, and the topic of many a post here. Also? Rhubarb is apparently […]

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