|A Rather Good-Size Garden Does a Body Good|
Most would consider this 8-acres a small farm plot.
Ed Scrushy sat cloaked in darkness, his gun cocked.
If the intruders came back, this time he was ready.
The intruders appeared as dark silhouettes against the pale-moon sky. Scrushy raised his gun, took aim and slowly squeezed the trigger. The gun jammed.
Scrushy laughed when he told that story.
"I’ve never killed a deer," he said. "Only went deer hunting two times in my life – the first time and the last time. It was so cold I thought I would freeze to death. And I promised the Good Lord and everybody else, if I ever got home, you wouldn’t catch me deer hunting ever again."
And Scrushy has been as good as his word. He wasn’t aiming to shoot the deer that came out of the darkness to play havoc with his watermelon patch. His intentions were to scare the deer with the blast of the shotgun and maybe sting one or two of them.
Scrushy planted a corn blind to keep the deer out of his eight-acre pea-plus patch, but the corn was slow growing and useless as a blind.
"What I’m going to do is drive my truck down here at night and turn on the music as loud as it will go," he said. "All that racket should keep the deer away until I can get the hot wire up."
It’s not that Scrushy wants to keep all the garden grabbin’s for himself…far from that because Scrushy’s garden is a community garden. He grows far more than he could ever even think about eating. He really grows the garden for the pleasure of others and sometimes has more than he can give away, "especially squash."
Scrushy has a family garden and another some might consider a small farm plot.
And, a pea patch like Scrushy’s doesn’t just happen. It takes planning and a lot of hard work.
"I grew up on a farm and we were fortunate we owned our land while a lot of folks were sharecroppers," Scrushy said. "We worked hard. We picked cotton, stacked peanuts, cut trees with a crosscut saw, raised cows and hogs, and plowed with a mule. I know what it’s like to be behind a mule and on a long row. It’s tough. But I learned to farm the right way."
And, when he prepares his eight-acres for planting each spring, Scrushy does it the right way.
"You’ve got to put that plow as deep in the ground as you can get it," he said. "And you’ve got to disc the land three, four times. If you don’t, the weeds will pass your peas."
But with so little spring rain, Scrushy said both his garden and the pea patch are behind.
"If we had gotten the rain, the peas would have been nearly twice their size," he said.
But squash grows like weeds, with or without rain.
"It’s about time for people to start locking their cars at church," Scrushy said, laughing. "They don’t want any more squash."
Scrushy gladly shares his garden harvest with his friends and neighbors, who are all good people. He’ll get up a mess of corn, a head of cabbage or sack of tomatoes, and take them around house to houses. But the peas – well, that’s another thing.
The pea patch is a U-pick operation and, when word gets around the "Scrushy pea patch" is open, at sunup, there will be cars parked all around the patch with pickers sitting on ready.
Gardening is hard work. It’s time consuming and it’s rather costly. But for those who grew up on the farm and get a little grit in their craw, it’s hard to get it out.
At age 83, Scrushy has found that planting, tending and harvesting a garden is good for the soul. Being out in the fresh air – even in the hot sunshine – and watching things grow and mature to harvest does a body good. And, to be able to share the fruits of the harvest with others brings a deep sense of satisfaction. So, for Ed Scrushy, all of the toil pays off in dividends best calculated by what he can divide with others.
Jaine Treadwell is a freelance writer from Brundidge.