Saturday, August 9, 2008

uncle romulus

this is my uncle romulus barnes. he was the kind of gardener i wish i could be. this is an article the charlotte news published about him on august 9, 1960. i know you can't read the print so i'll retype: "when i work, i feel better," romulus barnes said. he is 84 years old and was looking out over the half-acre garden that he works alone - without the aid of tractor, mule, or power tool.

"i spaded every bit of it myself and i just finished putting 28 buckets of water on it," mr. barnes added.

why is the soil in his garden moist at such a dry time? he carried the water up the hill from the small branch in the back.

when mr. barnes works his garden he has to crawl on his hands and knees. he has lost the sight in one eye and is almost blind in the other. he has suffered a mild stroke and cannot hear unless addressed with a shout.

the devotion and labor he gives to his garden shows in the lush green cultivation. he has four plots each of corn and tomatoes.

"they ripen at different times," mr. barnes said. there are peas, snaps, sweet potatoes, berries, butter beans, squash, melons, flowers, and just about anything a gardening enthusiast could ask for.

mr. barnes grew up on a farm near tayorsville and moved to charlotte when he was 15.

"i can remember when trade and tryon streets had rocks in them six inches high. neither of them was paved and horse-drawn street cars ran up the middle of the street from the southern railroad depot. there were lots of gardens in town then."

his garden is only about a mile and a half from the square. he lives at 708 e. 18th street.

"parking downtown was much easier then. all the stores had parking lots behind for the wagons and mules."

mr. barnes feels very deeply about his garden. he said: "people shouldn't garden unless they want to. it takes a lot of experience and hard work."

i am truely ashamed of myself. i complain about dragging the hose around in this heat, watering my flowers and garden, when he did the same on hands and knees, crawling up hill with each bucket of water ...dipped from the branch.


CiNdEe said...

Now that is dedication!!! What a wonderful story. I am going to send it to my dad who is almost 80 and still gardens. With a hose and a rototiller though(-: Thanks for sharing!!!

Meadowview Thymes said...

Wow--this is quite a story. Cindee sent me here via her blog--thanks Cindee. And thanks Jody for such a heartwarming story and reminding us how blessed we are! Your uncle was indeed a special gardener!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the directions Cindee. Jody what an inspiring story. Us modern folks don't really know the hardship of gardening in the yrs past. This story sure was a reminder to be thankful for what we have. I remember how hard my mother worked in the garden to put food on the table for us 4 kids.

Anonymous said...

Came over from Cindee's blog. Wonderful story! He is an inspiration to all us "modern" gardeners who have so many nice amenities!

Unknown said...

What a great story! He showed tremendous determination to farm that way. Cindee sent me too. Thanks for sharing.

Eve said...

I'll bet he didn't think he was making an unusual sacrifice. He was quite a person.

I can identify a little. When we first got married, we moved out on the land before we had our well down. I started a garden and watered it with rainwater, I caught in rain barrels. But I was healthy. I can't imagine doing it without being healthy.

Unknown said...

Amazing story and one I must remember whenever I crib about watering the plants in the heat. Thanks Jodi and thanks to Cindee too, for guiding me here.

tina said...

Very inspirational!