The Therapeutic Value of a Hoe
or, How a Hoe is Like a Canoe Paddle
So the field corn has been replanted, after the geese were freeranged and got into the field corn patch and devoured it. The replanted fied corn patch is up about six inches, and the weeds and grass are starting to catch up to the corn, and we all know what THAT means.
Corn doesn’t like competition. Better get rid of the weeks, fast.
Milton was out there with hoe in hand. He is a big fan of Tai Chi, so he was taking some liberties with the swinging of the hoe. And then he got to philosophizing:
“You know, a hoe is a lot like a canoe paddle. It takes two hands to use it. It is best if one sweeps it through its intended media (he means dirt). The key to success with either of them thar tools is fi-nesse.”
Of course, as Milton said fie ness- he was tippy-toeing on his left foot, and duckwalking clumsily to avoid stepping on a delicate corn stalk, nearly falling over in the meanwhile.
“Ayup, says he, by sweeping the hoe, and making these most subtle of wrist movements, the clearing of all non-corn plants from the rows, accurately, can be accomplished, while also creating loose mounds of top soil”, which he neatly hilled against the now lonely corn plants. Milton can be a bit of a show-off, if anyone will hang around him long enough to give him a chance.
“Ya gotta be careful to hill up these corn rows, Milton continued. The wind round here (near Bippus, Indiana) can get powerful strong. It’ll lay these rows flat, if’n they ain’t hilled properly.” We had noticed one stalk of his sweet corn, the taller first planting over North of his house, had been blown over, just as he described.
“Ya know, swingin a hoe is kinda therra-pewtic for me,” Milton continued. “When I ain’t jaw jackin, and I’m out here alone just a hoeing along, I kinda forget about everything else that is going on in the world. Kinda like when we were up there on the Pere Marquette River, that’s in Michigan, you know, and there are hunnerts of curves and bends and low hanging branches. A fella just ain’t got no time to be thinkin bout nuthin else.”
And there I left him to his therapy, alone with his thoughts; treading lightly, swinging gently, removing the weeds, amongst his corn.