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The PO's Last Gasp? Or Is There Hope After All?

Updated on March 19, 2017
Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin is a true southern male who enjoys writing about the past in his part of the world. I hope you enjoy my Tales of the South.

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Seven Years A Grave?

I've been writing on HubPages for almost 7 years now, and it has been quite an experience for me. Some good, some bad, but mostly confusing for an old dirt farmer/ freelance writer. It isn't the same place I first joined, not by a long shot

You should have seen some of the crap HP allowed on here at the time. Indian Auntie hubs—mostly unattractive women in diaphanous garb one wouldn't want to see anyway—and pure spam, some of which received millions of views pretending to be actual complaint departments of well known companies. Yes, we honest authors complained.

Anyhow, I've gone from making dollars a day to now earning pennies. I feel like a ball because I've been bounced from the main HP domain to sub-domains and back to the main domain again. Figure for yourself if they know what they're doing.....I sure as hell don't know and doubt they do either.

HP staff have never been too good at dealing with their writers. I suppose they'll never change until it's too late... like the other now extinct writing sites. Cut me some slack will ya, I'm prohibited from posting in the forums you know. I ask too many hard questions and upset their tea service, I suppose.

At any rate, I felt like a good spring story would possibly raise the hopes of the faithful—and the others of us of a more cynical bent—for the coming year. Yeah right! So, the tale.....

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My True Garden Story

I've come to a conclusion concerning gardening. It is an inherited genetic trait. Not that you can't be a good gardener without the gene, it's just harder to not garden if you do have it. I practically grew up in a garden, a vegetable garden for the most part, but my mom made sure there were also some flowers to grace the table with.

Everyone I knew had a vegetable plot of some size or another, even the town folk. Here in southern Georgia not growing your own produce was as unthinkable as not attending church on Sundays. Besides, you had to have something to give the preacher when he came calling, which he did frequently during the two garden seasons we enjoy down here.

Like almost everyone else around here, my parents were farming people, as were their parents, and so on back down the line. Mom and Dad were both born and raised during the Great Depression and knew how times could be tough. They didn't have much money during most of their younger years, but they always had plenty to eat. Perhaps you've heard the song "A Country Boy Will Survive," well everyone ate good out in the country, even in those terrible times

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Shortly after my parents married the U.S. became involved in World War II. Despite the fact of my father being in the middle of growing his first tobacco and corn crops, he and two of his brothers were drafted into the army. The younger of my uncles never saw action during his service, the older went to the South Pacific with all of it's many Japanese held islands.

My father , a simple country boy who had never been far from home, was suddenly sent to Fort Benning and from there to Texas for his basic training. "They weren't nothin' to basic training" he would say, "us farm boys was used to following a mule's rear end from dawn to dark and a twenty mile hike weren't anythang." Then he would tell how he and another Georgia farm boy carried this yankee friend of theirs, a city boy, almost half way back to keep him from having to repeat the hike.

Dad, and thousands of other equally disoriented young Americans, were then placed on transport ships to England. He would tell about the nightly bombing raids in London and the people seeking shelter in the subways. He was witness to a V-1 buzz bomb dropping through the clouds and causing devastation to the ancient city. As a young man used to hot sunshine and blue skies, he would say this of England, "I was in England for six weeks and never did see the sun shine.

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D-Day was on and my father's company were among a group heading to Normandy for a section designated by the name Omaha beach. I never wanted my father to see "Saving Private Ryan" and he wouldn't anyway. He just wasn't the movie watching type. He went on from Normandy with Patton's army to Paris for the liberation of France. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, entered into Germany, and helped free some of the remaining Jewish prison camps.

What kept my father going through all of this terrible ordeal? This was one of the few questions he would respond to concerning the war. Like many of his fellow warriors, he chose not to talk about some aspects of being a soldier during this war. But when he did respond to the question you knew how serious he was about the ordeal.

His answer was always the same. "Wherever I was at night, foxhole, tent shelter, or curled up beside a stone wall, whether it was raining, snowing, or sleeting I would think about the garden I would have when I got home. I would imagine how warm it would be and how green everything would look, the taste of familiar foods grown by my own hands, and this would help me relax and drift off to sleep."

The horror of the Holocaust camps.
The horror of the Holocaust camps. | Source

He told about having to eat green apples and horse meat when their supplies were cut off and about the struggles of the native population trying to cope themselves. He had to think about something fresh and growing instead of the death and destruction reality offered. I guess you could call it country boy therapy. Whatever, it seemed to work for him.

Dad said sometimes when they were tired and hungry with the snow falling heavily outside the shelter, one of the men would say "hey Georgia boy, tell us some more about your garden." Dad would go into great detail about how good the tomatoes would taste and how mom would fry a chicken better than they had ever tasted. "They didn't seem to understand about turnip greens and boiled peanuts" he said.

"I made my self hungry by describing the food and they were too, but it seemed to make us content for a while and this was the best we could hope for" Dad said. Having grown up in the deep south, he had heard about the "damn yankees" most of his life but he found out they were just people too. He would remain friends with many of his war buddies until he died.

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Every year they would have a reunion at one or the other's home town and I had the privilige to meet them and become friends with their children. He was, in many ways, closer to these men than his own brothers. Many would stop on the way to or from Florida and had the chance to eat some of the food Dad had described. Mom couldn't fry the chicken fast enough. I will always cherish those memories.

Well, he finally made it back home and indeed grew fabulous gardens. Some of my very first memories are of being there and helping plant the many vegetables we grew. It was work to me then and I really didn't care for it. My father however, always whistled and hummed as he worked in the garden. But sometimes he would get a faraway look in his eyes for a moment and I knew he was remembering something which happened during the war.

But he wasn't just good at growing garden food, he excelled at any crop he tried to produce. Although he, nor my mother, ever used tobacco in any form, he was famous for his beautiful golden harvest. Whatever you may think of tobacco, it was king then. He and my mom bought a farm and paid for it in two years growing tobacco. This was hard labor people. Tobacco takes most of a year to produce and the process is intricate

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Growing up and working on the farm with Dad I learned a lot from him. The older I got the more I appreciated gardening and growing things. In my case it was more exotic plants such as orchids and bonsai trees. I grew vegetables also as you can't buy a decent tomato anymore. But before long it was the whole shebang or nothing. Like my Dad, I needed a little country boy therapy myself and so do most of us.

My dad died while out working in the field one spring evening. He was almost 85 years old and as happy a person as I have ever known. When my mother and I found him lying on the ground beside the tractor, I thought he was asleep. He had been in much pain lately but would never stay inside the house. We knew we would find him dead on the farm someday but this was what he wanted. As he lay there he looked so peaceful and contented.

My father was not a rich man, nor was he famous, but he was loved by everyone. It seemed like he knew everyone in this area. He had given most of the local kids jobs in the summer and they never forgot this when they grew up. They would ask if their own children could learn how to work on Dad's farm like they did. For such a simple man my father had the largest attendance at the wake and funeral than any well-to-do person ever had around here.

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Although my father had fine clothes, he wished to be buried in his overalls. I slipped a pair of pliers in the side pocket and a small writing tablet and a two inch long pencil into the bib. A new John Deer cap was placed at his side, (one he had been saving) and he was ready to go. He was a truly religious man and had no doubts as to what lay ahead after death. I think for him heaven would be a garden.

After the funeral and the out of town visitors had left,(many were sons and daughters of former war buddies from all over the U.S.) I hung up my suit and headed out to the garden, only to discover my Mom and brother already there planting potatoes. It was spring and the garden needed planting and certainly dad would approve.

Planting the potatoes and making sure the eyes were pointed up made me think of dad when he would say "don't bend over in the garden granny, you know them tater's got eyes." This line was, of course, purloined by another Georgian, Louis Grizzard, for the title of one of his very funny books. For the most part though, we worked in silence because we were busy thinking about Dad.

Once I thought I heard him humming a tune, like he always did when working in the garden. But then I realized it was just me. I was also thinking about the pleasant look on his face when we found him. I wondered if he was dreaming about gardens. I think I now understand his contentment. It's in the genes I tell you.


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  • Randy Godwin profile image
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    Randy Godwin 76 minutes ago from Southern Georgia

    Still don't know where my healdove revenue comes from. Must be from a referral Hubber.

  • paradigmsearch profile image

    Person of Interest 4 hours ago from USA

    Looks like healdove traffic is coming back. Apparently Google believes in redemption; who'd have thunk it. Maybe something a certain HP moderator could learn...

  • Randy Godwin profile image
    Author

    Randy Godwin 14 hours ago from Southern Georgia

    Could barely get outta bed this morning. You're right Para, I'm just too of for this sorta stuff anymore.

  • paradigmsearch profile image

    Person of Interest 15 hours ago from USA

    Randy, I was just kidding. I figure if there's anyone who would know what they are doing, it would be you. And you are right about the physical labor, we really are too old for that stuff anymore.

    Meanwhile, here's my weekly traffic report...

    It is now officially 2 weeks in a row that my traffic crash and burn has stopped.

    HP increased another 7%.

    WWNN did drop by 2%. But after the previous week's 33% increase, I'm fine with that. Gives me hope it's a new level, as opposed to being a short term spike.

    It could be fun if others here would tell their weekly percentage increases/decreases. The aggregate information could also prove useful for us.

    Here's hoping for a third benign week in a row.

    The month of May coming up tomorrow. A third of the year gone already. How'd the heck did that happen? Scary.

  • Randy Godwin profile image
    Author

    Randy Godwin 26 hours ago from Southern Georgia

    We have all of the needed accessories and of course us living on a farm access to trucks and trailers. My son 's house was built around 1900 with small doors and large windows. However, the windows are very high off the ground and removing one of the old windows would be risky. We'll finish the job tomorrow easily enough as we--mostly me--ran out of energy and it was getting dark for my drive back home.

    And no, I don't think we still use smog pumps here, maybe never did..

  • paradigmsearch profile image

    Person of Interest 28 hours ago from USA

    I got my physical exercise earlier in the week dealing with that piece of junk swamp cooler.

    My next exercise episode is going to be dealing with a seized smog pump. Anybody know how to un-seize one of those?

  • paradigmsearch profile image

    Person of Interest 28 hours ago from USA

    Actually, better add a second ramp, blankets to prevent scratches on the side, and, oh yeah, a pickup truck.

  • paradigmsearch profile image

    Person of Interest 28 hours ago from USA

    Got any wide screened windows and ramps? :D

  • Randy Godwin profile image
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    Randy Godwin 29 hours ago from Southern Georgia

    Removed and installed two fridges today. One for myself and one for my son and they were a pain in the ass. The doors on my son's house are too narrow for the new double door fridges and we are having to remove the doors from his fridge before we can install his. Plumb tuckered out!! Too old for this crap.

  • paradigmsearch profile image

    Person of Interest 29 hours ago from USA

    Hello, all.

    Did the writer thing for 8 hours straight today. Dog tired.

    Can't wait for the weekly stats to come out tomorrow. Will chairs be thrown or will it be Happy Camper Land? Only Google knows for sure.

    Meanwhile, the Orange One is showing definite signs of sanity. Maybe the planet won't go down in flames after all.

  • Randy Godwin profile image
    Author

    Randy Godwin 3 days ago from Southern Georgia

    It's not a bad trait to inherit, Gilbert. I can attest to that. :)

  • rebelogilbert profile image

    Gilbert Arevalo 3 days ago from Hacienda Heights, California

    Thanks Randy, we seem to have that in common.

  • Randy Godwin profile image
    Author

    Randy Godwin 3 days ago from Southern Georgia

    Hey Gilbert, and thanks for the nice comments on this story that's dear to my heart. I actually wrote this one over ten years ago shortly after my father's demise and moved it here from another site. I have thought of writing some more tales about Dad's adventures in the war, and perhaps I will at some time in the future.

    I hope your father enjoys his own "Country boy therapy" as much my own Dad did during his lifetime.

  • rebelogilbert profile image

    Gilbert Arevalo 3 days ago from Hacienda Heights, California

    Randy, it's interesting I found your story. My father has been planting small vegetable plots and digging up earth for seeds the entire last two months. He has our whole backyard cultivated for new crops. I've taken him to the gardening store about four times in the last two months. I thought some of the stories you're interweaving between the gardening could be blown-up into larger stories of their own, but that's up to you. I just thought you might find more, there.

  • Randy Godwin profile image
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    Randy Godwin 4 days ago from Southern Georgia

    No problem for me. I know poison ivy itches like hell. I can indeed attest to that.

  • paradigmsearch profile image

    Person of Interest 4 days ago from USA

    Yeah, Google is really on the warpath concerning anything medical. In fact, I am beginning to think writing any sort of medical article at all can be downright dangerous to a website unless you are the Mayo Clinic or such.

  • Randy Godwin profile image
    Author

    Randy Godwin 4 days ago from Southern Georgia

    I was earning a bit from healdove but don't know I was. I don't have any hubs on the site. Apparently one of the people who signed up under my name--I think this is an extinct feature now on HP--must have written something on there. I did notice the earnings from there were stinking to high heaven lately.

  • paradigmsearch profile image

    Person of Interest 4 days ago from USA

    I just did an April MTD and find this extremely interesting!

    If I count WWNN as a vertical site, then my total number of vertical sites would be considered to be 9.

    What just caused me to figuratively fall out of my chair is that WWNN comes in as my #3 top earner, beating 6 of HP's vertical sites. I had no idea!

    My subconscious is definitely going to be mulling this over for the next several days!

    As a side note, healdove definitely really is a corpse with the flies circling, leastwise for me.

  • paradigmsearch profile image

    Person of Interest 4 days ago from USA

    Sounds reasonable. :D

    Meanwhile. I finally clawed and scraped my way past the HP payout finish line. I'll add a couple more days worth this weekend for a safety margin. And then that is it. Until there is a radical improvement with the CPM, I'm permanently done with them.

    Of course if Straight AdSense starts handing me daily zeros or pennies only, I'll readdress that decision.

  • Randy Godwin profile image
    Author

    Randy Godwin 4 days ago from Southern Georgia

    I've given up tracking anything to do with my writing. As long as I'm earning a few grand a month I'm okay. :P

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