By Gelene Simpson
Corsicana Daily Sun
Texans begin to stir around outside in February. They are looking forward to spring planting. Many of us cannot pass up a “Twin Day” planting or a free packet of cucumber or radish seeds. We even have dreams of rows of vegetables in a neat little garden plot.
I have a theory about this preoccupation with the change of seasons and the urge to cultivate plants. Perhaps it came from Adam and Eve longing to recreate the spectacular garden that they lost in Eden. But it was certainly emphasized and enhanced by our Texas ancestors who came here in the 1830s and 40s and later in the 1860s because they wanted to make a new start but had to be realistic enough to plant food as well as cotton.
With all the fancy foods available in super-super markets today, something has to explain the desire for a “mess” of turnip greens, some fresh cherry tomatoes, and the “ohs” and “ahs” when the green beans for dinner contain “new” potatoes.
By the end of February around the birthday of José Antonio Navarro, the Texas patriot for whom Navarro County was named, and the second of March, Texas Independence Day, Texas is holding its breath, waiting for spring to kick in, in full force. The japonicas have blazed the trail, the plum trees have displayed their pristine petals, and the redbuds have donned their gorgeous lilac or orchid hues. But everyone is still waiting for that special moment when the hordes of bluebonnets capture the fields, hills and roadsides and catch us all up in their blue miracle once again.
When April comes with the memory of victory at San Jacinto by our big, tall Texas hero Sam Houston, it seems only naturally that happy hills and valleys should don new green coats and frolicsome calves and goats should join in the celebration of that long-ago battle for independence. The ranchers and cattlemen breathe a sigh of relief when the pastures green up and the threat of running short of hay before the end of winter is put by for another year.
In the little towns of Texas, people begin to gather outside in pocket parks near the main street or the square to enjoy family picnic treats, and churches hold spring revivals and laity banquets. Public Schools Week in Texas invites us all to visit the classrooms of our state and view firsthand the progress being made toward the future. President Mirabeau B. Lamar, in 1839, encouraged the Texas Congress to establish a system of public education by setting aside public land as an endowment for public schools and two universities. It behooves us as citizens of our state to keep up the tradition of interest in and support for our public schools.
After school is out in the afternoon, young folks can be seen riding their horses or tending to some of the calves, hogs, or sheep that they are planning to show or sell, and the chorus of coyotes yelping in the early evening doesn’t sound so ominous to the animals and humans when the weather warms up and rabbits and other wild creatures can make a plenteous meal for predators.
And finally, when the tough mesquites get their leaves, and the old-timers say that’s when we can be assured that spring is really here, we can breathe a great sigh of relief and let the joy and happiness overflow. God has been good! We can gather with friends and relatives and be thankful that we have made it through another winter.
Personally, I love to see the tough mesquites grow their bean pods. One summer, if I hadn’t had those pods, the goats would have been really scrambling for something to eat. So I don’t complain about the thorny mesquites as much as I did when I first moved to the country and they would snag my clothes and give me numerous scratches when I would venture into a thicket. There is a good side to nearly everything that gives a rough appearance at first.
Thanks be to God.