Here’s to more time in the recliner

Published 5:43 pm Saturday, October 8, 2016

According to the garden in the backyard, fall has officially arrived.

The lettuce is thriving, the collard greens are green, the kale is at least alive, the broccoli is almost knee high and the tomatoes have yellowed and withered.

The small plot of cool-season vegetables is officially my wife’s garden. And if it’s any indication, she’s a much better gardener than I am. Our summer garden was my project and it was a total failure.

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The squash were puny, the peppers were tiny and the tomatoes were mostly eaten by worms. The only thing that we could consider successful were the cucumbers, but one can only eat so many pickles. In general, the garden was a disappointment and a strike against my country-living bonafides.

Up until this point in our marriage, I have been the expert on all things farm and garden related. Anything outside really. I grew up in the country, she grew up in the city. I taught her how to shoot a gun, ride a horse, catch a fish, pitch a tent and grow a garden — I thought.  She, in turn, taught me how to navigate Houston’s maddening traffic and that salmon carpaccio is really just raw salmon and I shouldn’t order it when we’re at a fancy restaurant.

But somewhere along the way, this city girl started to “out-country” me. She’s now more likely than I am to handle the everyday tasks that accompany living in the country. She doesn’t mind weeding and watering the garden, mowing the grass, or any of the other work that has to be done around here.

On a hot day I can usually be found relaxing in my recliner trying to pretend I’m not asleep. She is usually outside working.

I come from a family of strong, working women so this turn of events has been rather refreshing. My daughters will grow up knowing that a woman can work just as hard — and usually smarter — than any man. That’s a valuable lesson that’s too often lost these days.

Not only is my wife’s garden bountiful, it just looks better than mine. The rows are neat and spaced evenly, right out of a Southern Living magazine. I didn’t even bother with rows in my pitiful excuse for a garden. I just stuck the plants in the freshly tilled ground, watered them and hoped for the best.

It won’t be long before it’s time to harvest my wife’s picture-worthy plants. And when those vegetables hit the table, a little bit of my pride will take a bruising. I will have to admit she’s a better gardener than me, and for someone as competitive as I am, that’s a big deal.

If this continues, I may soon have to hand over the reigns to other areas previously considered my expertise. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing. I might end up with more time in the recliner and less time outside sweating. I don’t think any country boy would object to that.

Luke Horton is the publisher of The Daily Leader. He may be reached at