I am a farmer, and for many years I have tilled the soil from daybreak to sundown. My brow is heavy from the sweat of my work. However, I am not an ordinary farmer, I have only two crops,orchids and onions. You may ask yourself, "Why orchids and onions?" Well, just the other day, my neighbor Fred was telling me what a darn fool I am to be planting my orchids and onions. He said that no one would buy them, and that I should switch to potatoes like he did. I laughed at him, because he didn't understand the hidden value of my crop. My orchids and onions have sentimental meaning to me, a special value that no coin can replace.
Why, there's the first onion I ever did plant! Mighty big one too. It lies where the sun shines brightest,right behind the septic tank. Boy, that onion sure means a lot to me. I don't reckon I'll ever get to selling it. I cared for that onion each day taking special care to water it extra, all the while ruminating over the things that I hate the most in this world.
I think that onion represents the poor folk across the river. The mayor calls their problem poverty. I hate that word, poverty. Every time I think of the poor folk, I think of the smell of my onion, and it brings tears to my eyes. I wish I could ferry across that river and give the folks some of my onions, but I think they'd take a liking to Fred's potatoes more. I want to wipe out the problem of poverty, and some day sell my onion.
In my next row of onions is a real hum-dinger. That one there grew from a tiny bulb to a monster. Every time I water it I think of the "fly boys" up the interstate at the air force base. I can hear their jets now, soaring overhead. Those pilots remind me of the arms race that our government is in. We build our supply of weapons, and the Soviets make more too. It seems to go on and on, each day I read about it in the news. The arms race is like my onion, I figure. My onion keeps growing and growing with no end in sight. Some day the whole thing will up and explode! I wish my onion would stop growing.
Across the yard is my patch of orchids, my pride and joy. Every day the widow Clancy strolls by and picks one,I never charge her, don't tell the wife. My orchids are white, and they sure beat Fred's potatoes, being so beautiful. I take extra-special care of my orchids, such pretty things; they remind me of the things I love the most. I love the wife's apple pie with the crunchy crust. I love my grandkids on my lap, I love the beauty of nature, and I love a dip in the river after a hard day's work. I love the sweat on my brow, and the dirt under my nails, yes, you heard it right, but most of all I love the life I live under the heavens, at night, with a glass of lemonade in my hand.
Yes, I raise my orchids, and I raise my onions,they call me a sentimental guy, but my garden would not be complete without the two, for nothing is free of goodness or badness, and tomorrow is another day. Someday when they bury me, they will place my orchids on my grave, and if Fred should outlive me, he can keep my onions.n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.