By Father Timothy Gollob
Special to The Texas Catholic
Recently, I was checking out my garden in back of the Holy Cross rectory and I was pondering what purpose it served. It was not beautiful nor was it bounteous in produce, but it had a multitude of goodies stuffed into every corner.
For one thing, it was a refuge of wildlife. It was a haven for butterflies. It was an opportunity for good physical work. It was a place to melt stress and anxiety into a crop of serenity and peace.
I reflected on my gardening history. From my school days in Tyler, I remembered that my family had a good-sized garden on East Front Street. Each family member had a plot to cultivate. My specialty was squash. It was easy to grow and a five-pound zucchini was nice to brag about (but hard to give away!)
At my grandmother’s farm in Laneville, my brother, Michael, and I had a two rows dedicated to our vegetable enterprises. One row had onions and one had cabbages. After harvesting them, we would take our tasty wares door to door in the big city of Tyler to sell for slaw and for stews.
Seems like every move I made away from East Texas found me doing some sort of garden. At Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, I had a plot spaded up near the old gymnasium. Getting water to it was a chore, but I managed. However, the garden did not survive the summer vacation in the Texas heat.
Then over at the North American College in Rome, I found some black radish seeds. I planted them in an old Corsicana fruitcake tin and they grew vigorously in the light of my desk lamp. I let them grow so large that they were pithy when I finally decided to eat them.
However, my greatest triumph in the gardening field happened during my six-week stint of Clinical Pastoral Studies in Washington, D.C. I was staying at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in an ancient rectory. Between the house and the parking lot was a three-foot-wide space. I declared that it was good space to grow a garden.
The pastor, Msgr. Joachin Bazan, challenged me to grow something in six weeks. I found a grubbing hoe. I plowed up a 20-foot-by-three-foot space. I went to a store and got a tomato plant and some seeds.
Before I returned to Texas, there were cucumbers hanging from the fence. Tomatoes were ripe for our supper salad. Radishes were also ready. I had found a wonderful stress breaking activity in the middle of an exhausting course. I didn’t have to go to a gym for physical exercise.
I headed back to Texas hoping (but most likely in vain) that some other cleric would tend the little garden after my departure. But I did hear later that they bragged about the delicious produce that their little garden had provided.
Father Timothy Gollob is the pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.