I can only control so much. The rest is out of my hands.
And I know this.
When I was a boy, The Old Man decided to plant a small garden on the side of the house. He chose the side of the house because our dogs had run of the backyard. We cleaned after the dogs—we even set up a dog pen, which our dogs, Tammy and Devin eventually learned to use, and rather than have to clean the yard, the smelly cleaning was limited to the dog pen. Nevertheless, the Old Man wanted to keep the garden away from the animals.
I could always tell when The Old Man felt old. I could tell when he felt like he was unable to fix something—and by something, I mean anything that was out of his control. The Old Man was afraid to get old and feel old. He was afraid of feeling incapable or weak.
In times like this, The Old Man would start a home project, which meant work for my brother and me. I was much younger than my brother and not as strong as him. This meant I would be less capable when it came to heavy lifting. I did not move fast enough. I could not produce like The Old Man wanted, which was frustrating to him.
The Old Man was not very kind during times like these. He was tough. The Old Man was tougher than any boss I had in any job I ever worked. He yelled and screamed. He called me names like, “Horse’s ass.”
And that hurt. It was not a fun time in my house when The Old Man felt this way. And there was no avoiding it. Either I helped The Old Man with his projects until he became so frustrated that he sent me away, or I skipped town, and run off with my friends. That seemed like a better idea. Except, I eventually had to come home, and when I did, The Old Man was angry that I was nowhere to be found.
This always confused me because The Old Man was never pleased. He complained about the way I worked. He yelled loud and sometimes he yelled to the point where I noticed the veins pulsing at the sides of his head. His teeth clenched like a father’s would clench when frustrated with his son.
I did not work as well or as smart as The Old Man wanted me to. He was not easy to work with and I was not good at working with him. But again, there was no escape. If I chose to skip and go elsewhere, The Old Man became angry. If I stayed, The Old Man would still become angry.
I suppose my inability to work as The Old Man needed was a representation of how he felt inside. I suppose when I left the Old Man alone with his projects and went elsewhere; it was a representation of The Old Man’s loneliness.
He was afraid. The Old Man was afraid of being incapable. He was afraid of not having answers. And when taken down to its core; anger is simply a reaction to fear.
Fortunately, the garden at the side of the house was small. The Old Man took out the bushes that were there before. He tilled the soil. I helped him with this and managed to escape any serious yelling. The Old Man explained his plans. He told me about the seeds we had and the vegetables he planned to grow. He planted spearmint. I liked that. I liked the taste of the leaves. He planted carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Tomatoes were big with The Old Man. I think this is so because The Old Man had better luck with his tomato plants. He tried squash one year. Zucchini did well too.
Each year, The Old Man planted seeds. He tried new methods to make a better garden. He made sure the garden was watered and the weeds did not have their way. Some of the plants did well. Others did not, which is why The Old Man planted so many of them.
Not every seed we plant grows as we want them to.
I know this.
I have become very similar to The Old Man. I never thought I would be this way—but life has a funny way with things like this.
Sometimes I feel incapable. I feel frightened and angry. I hate feeling helpless; I can’t fix what needs to be fixed or pay what needs to be paid. I get frustrated. I lash out. I can’t solve the problems in my mind and figuratively speaking, with all my best efforts, the seeds I planted have not produced like I wanted them to. Sometimes the weeds have their way
Guess I should do like The Old Man did and just plant more seeds.
This way I will do better when it comes to harvest
I can only control so much.
The rest is out of my hands . . .