Sunday, March 4, 2012
"The Cucumber Caper"
When I was about ten we lived on the Kennebec road in Hampden, in a little green house. My Dad was raising chickens then and had close to one hundred of them. If people on the outside could have seen me at times, I am sure they would have thought me to be a lunatic child. It is no secret to anyone that knows me that I am an animal lover and I was building quite a little menagerie if I do say so myself. I had some little white mice that I brought home from one of my visits to the island. A woman there raised them for Jackson Lab for experimentation. I convinced my Uncle that I was saving six of them from sure pain and potential death. He agreed I could have them as long as I got permission from my parents. They agreed. I was all for saving something. I had a Blue Jay that got caught in the shed trying to steal chicken grain but realized with in a day or so that he could not be kept and must be set free, much to my dismay. I had one special chicken out of the one hundred that had a bum leg, his name was Blackie and I carried him around the yard with me because I knew it was hard for him to walk…hey what can I can say…he needed me!
We also had a beautiful female German Shepherd named Princess.
I remember one year, my Fathers garden was doing great all except for the Cucumbers. I watched him come home every night and go straight to the garden and look at the crops and each night he would come into the house and complain that the cukes just didn’t seem to be doing that good. We were not allowed in the garden, but one day I decided to sneak a look, and all I saw were little bitty cucumbers. I had been playing in the field between our house and the neighbors earlier that day and saw that they had big green Cucumbers on their vines. I wanted my Dad to have big Cucumbers too! And I knew if he came home and saw that the Cukes had grown he would be happy. Together Princess and I walked up the slight incline of the field; stopping at the edge of the neighbor’s garden…I looked around, and picked two of the longest Cucumbers I could find and brought them home. I placed them strategically among my fathers Cucumber vines.” Now all we have to do is wait Princess,” I said.” Dad is going to be so happy!” I could hardly contain my excitement until Dad got home. After what seemed like forever Dad arrived home from work, only this night he did not check the garden. Another day, trying to contain myself. On the second night dad went straight to the garden. With me watching him from the kitchen window, up and down the rows he went, when he reached the Cucumbers he squatted down and stood back up holding two big beautiful Cucumbers in one hand…But, wait…He didn’t look happy. In fact he looked very, very mad and somewhat confused. When he brought them into the kitchen he raised his left eyebrow high and said,” Where did these come from?” I began to wail like a child in mourning and told him what I did, and the reason why. I could see he was touched by my wanting to please him, but he knew there was a lesson in this that I had to learn. I mean really! Cucumbers eight inches long when his were only an inch or two and they weren’t even hooked to the vine! “C’mon!” he said.” Let’s go!” Up to the neighbors we went. I had to tell the nice neighbor lady that I was a thief and apologize. I was grounded for two weeks, and I felt like a fool, but it was a good lesson learned. You don’t take that which doesn’t belong to you even if you think someone needs it more.
I grow my own garden now and I never pick a cucumber without thinking of the,” Cucumber Caper.”