The World Was My Oyster But I Used The Wrong Fork

I could have gleaned tons of useful information watching my Grandpa tend to his acre-or-so garden. I could have learned when to lay the straw over the strawberries, pinch off early tomato blossoms, how to sow seeds, or how to protect the zucchini from squash bugs.

Though he did show me how to prune roses, how to remove the dead branches, how to make a berm around the base to catch the water, how many times to fill the berm, how not to splash the water on the leaves, and how to hand-pick Japanese beetles off the plants (their fate in a jar with a lid to be decided upon later). This information became useful to me as a master gardener–but still I could have learned much more–

especially since I used to sit on the bed and watch him make the macramé belts  in the back bedroom, occasionally taking a break to light his pipe. But I sat there so many times, so many times talking to him about trivial things while he rhythmically wove the string in patterns he referred to as McNamara’s Lace. Yet, I only vaguely remember the clamps that held his current work to the top back of a wooden chair. And I can’t even begin to visualize the hook-like contraption where the string ends somehow joined with his waist (or was it his belt?).

Since I was always interested in art–even back then, why didn’t I ask him to show me how to weave the damned lace? Or I could’ve asked him about his trip across the Pacific as a stowaway. Or asked him how he had to pay back his passage by working on other ships. Why didn’t I ask him how he ended up working in the fields in California? Or how he ended up going to school late in life to become a horticulturist? Hey, while I’m at it–why didn’t I go to art school? Or why didn’t I become a travel journalist? Or move back to Hawaii? Why did I stay in New Jersey?

There have been so many missed opportunities in my youth, especially not getting to know my grandfather better. Words of advice: Show genuine concern about getting to know your friends and loved ones. Don’t wait for that door to close before you look someone in the eye (Janet’s words) to tell them you love them. The time is now.

Quote of the Day for YOU: I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one. ~Mark Twain

© Teresita Abad Doebley. All rights reserved 2009-2011.

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3 thoughts on “The World Was My Oyster But I Used The Wrong Fork

  1. Yeah.
    I feel because I went to art school for 2 years that people have certain expectations of me. I always seem to disappoint. Either way , you can’t win.
    If you don’t go to school people are amazed at what you do.
    If you go to school or not, you taught yourself. It makes no difference.
    No regrets Terry!

  2. Going to art school was a good experience. They tell you to do things a certain way and you do them. But then you forget what you liked about art in the first place. A lot of people are competitive and snobby. After a while you just want to get out of there so you can remember what you used to know before you started going to art school.
    Everyone knows how to draw or paint before they get to school. They don’t really teach you anything but how to do things their way. They give you problems to solve visually. If you have your own ideas you can come up with your own problems to solve. Why pay a bunch of money to solve someone else’s problems?
    Do poets need a degree? It’s silly.

    • You know, Rick could probably tell you a story or two about his artwork in high school–he never got along with the art teacher for the same reasons you wrote about. And I consider him a wonderfully, talented artist.
      I joined the fine arts league as a volunteer and everyone asks me: Where did you go to school???!!! It freaked me out! Now I am intimidated, and I know I should’t feel that way.

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