The Life of Bon: I Remember When... (8 Minute Memoir Day 1)

Monday, August 22, 2016

I Remember When... (8 Minute Memoir Day 1)

I am doing an eight minute memoir project that I have seen some of my favorite writers and humans doing.  Join in if you want.  Sometimes my fingers and my brain need to write.  The details are here.

PROMPT 1:  "I remember when". Set your timer for eight minutes. Go somewhere quiet and get out your writing utensils. Write "I remember when" at the top of your page and start writing. The rules are don't edit/censor yourself. Don't worry whether what you're writing is good or bad. Don't worry who might read it. Just write whatever comes into your head. Try not to think too much. If you get stuck, write "I remember when" again and try something new. Go the full eight minutes without stopping. If you want to keep going, great. If not, great. If you feel like it, comment about how it went. Happy writing!

I remember when my dad used to ask me to help him plant potatoes in the garden.

"Bopper, I need you to help me with the potatoes."

I thought it was annoying that he asked me this.  Couldn't Mary do it?  Or Dennis?  Surely Dennis wasn't doing anything better.  But I'd put my black Nike gym shoes on and trudge behind him out to the garden.  

The work was pretty simple.  My dad cut the potatoes up into thirds or quarters.  He'd throw them all in a bucket, and then together we'd start down the long rows of the garden.  He would lift up up a big mound of dirt with his shovel and my job was to throw a potato piece in there.   It wasn't hard, but it was tedious and boring.   Over and over.  Up and down.  Shovel.  Lift.  Throw.  Repeat.

Planting time in Price was usually cold and windy.  My thin jacket wouldn't feel warm enough.  My fingers began to freeze from the cold.  I couldn't feel my ears as the sun set behind us.  It seemed wildly unfair to me.  None of my other white, privileged friends had to spend hours outside in the dirt planting potatoes with their dads.  Why did my dad always have to make me do stuff like this?

That was in the spring.  In the fall, he'd recruit me again.

"Bopper, I need you to help me with the potatoes."

Why can't Mary do it?  I'd think again.  Or Dennis?  Why did he always have to pick on me?

We'd go back out, this time with an empty bucket, ready to be filled.  My job was different in the fall than the spring.  Instead of placing the potatoes, I was now finding them.  Dad would lift up a shovel of dirt and quick, I'd rummage through the dirt like a squirrel, searching for one potato two potato three potatoes.

We filled up buckets of potatoes.  And it always amazed me how so many potatoes could come from so few potato pieces.  What were those sneaky potatoes doing all summer long, buried in the dirt?

All throughout the year we had a bucket of potatoes right outside the garage door.  Sitting on the steps, ready to be used at any time.  There were eight kids.  My mom cooked with a lot of potatoes.  In spite of myself, I took pride in it.  I helped plant those.

My dad has been gone for almost seven years now.  When I cut up potatoes into thirds and fourths, I think of him.  When I see big bags of dirty potatoes in the stores, I remember finding those with him, clawing through the dirt, dropping potatoes into never ending buckets.  

It's almost fall now, time to gather the potatoes.  

I can almost hear his voice, "Bopper, I need you to help me with the potatoes."

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