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1:27 PM Sun, Feb. 17th

Column: Horticulture students too funny for words

Being relatively new to the Kingman area, I decided to take a gardening class at Mohave Community College.

This class is a prerequisite for gaining the title of "master gardener." I grew up in the Midwest, so I was in awe of the concept of growing anything in a desert. Somehow, I became conditioned to believe that the only thing that grew in deserts were cacti and terrorists. Thus, my new challenge was to plant a garden and grow something good just to see what happened!

I consider it to be a challenge because I never learned to plant one in the Midwest. Instead, I spent much of my time conditioning myself to be a legal secretary. In the meantime, I also became totally fascinated with words ... especially those used by some of my previous employers during oral arguments. However, that was then and this is now. Below are only a few examples of what I've learned so far:

1. "Corn" is an orphan. How sad ... no one ever told me, and I grew up in the corn capital of the world! Or was it the soybean capital?

2. "Soil" is not the same as "dirt." Soil is what's on the ground that you can plant food and flowers in. Dirt is something you get on your shirt.

3. "Clayey" is a REAL word. It describes the texture of the soil (but not the dirt).

When I started suffering from TMI (too much information), I began wondering if I had what it took to go on and reach master gardener status.

Then I met Glori.

Glori sat next to me in class one day. After class, we struck up a conversation while walking toward our cars. I asked her if she had ever planted a garden before, and she proceeded to tell me a wonderful story about how gardening was in her blood.

You see, Glori grew up in a shack, financially poor but not poor in spirit. She was the eighth child in a herd of 10. During the '70s, somewhere in the boon-docks of Oregon, she helped her family to "hoe" the area farm fields in their community. When she was old enough to move out on her own, she decided to give up the hard labor in the fields and went out in search of an office job that would teach her clerical skills. One of her older sisters suggested it was time to teach Glori "how to walk and talk and dress like a regular lady." Back then, Glori was naive, full of wonder and totally innocent. Her vocabulary did not consist of negativity. How could it? She grew up in touch with her family and the land; she was oblivious to political correctness or social concerns.

Glori landed an interview with a male senator and his female assistant. The position was for "office assistant." During the interview, Glori was asked by the assistant, "So what did you do before you came to apply with us today?"

Glori simply smiled and replied, "I was a hoe-er."

With dismay, the assistant turned her head away from the conversation, but the senator leaned forward into the conversation with eyes alit. He looked amusingly at Glori and stammered, "Uh, so tell me Glori ... uh ... just exactly what made you decide to leave that ... a ... uhhh ... (clearing his throat) profession?"

Glori, again, simply smiled and replied with confidence, "It was a dirty job ... I always felt dirty."

When Glori told her mom and dad how the interview went, her mom screamed, "YOU TOLD HIM YOU WERE A WHAT?"

"A hoe-er," she replied. Her dad just busted up laughing.

Glori got the job.

And I'm still laughing as I write this.

Glori then asked me if I had planned on becoming a master gardener. I'm still not sure how to answer that. To earn that title, one must volunteer personal time without pay to the community. At the present, my title is "housewife" - "All work and no pay makes a housewife." Yep, that's my title. (Note: It's the best job I've ever had, except for the title of "Mommy.")

Glori yelled out to me as she got in her car: "Hey, if you ever decide to go back to work ... that is ... outside of the home, you can always go work for a senator."

"Oh yeah?" I yelled back. "How's that?"

"If senators will hire hoe-ers, they'll hire anyone!" she laughed.

I laughed all the way home just thinking about words and how societies and communities are affected by these vocal sounds that we define as we grow our meaning and purposes for our own lives.

While I still haven't decided what I want to be when I grow up, I have clearly come to two conclusions:

1. I made a great friend in Glori, and our husbands will get to watch our friendship grow good, just like our gardens, and;

2. It doesn't matter if you're from Oregon, the Midwest or the Middle East ... we ALL have to eat.

So why don't we all grow something good ... just to see what happens?