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The front yards along Chesterfield Avenue were for show.
The back yards – where stuff was stacked out of the sight – were by design.
However, each spring, one portion of our back yards was set aside and marked off for vegetable gardens.
And it was serious business, too. Babbit and Castello even hoed one in the cartoon that was at the old show.
President Roosevelt was on the radio encouraging all of us to do our part by investing in a Victory Garden to reduce the pressure on the World War II food supply.
We were all doing our part and even added a few more rows to our garden, including a few items Mama and Daddy didn’t normally plant.
They took off, too, and started drawing some attention.
The neighbors were having Victory Garden visitors in the night.
Something was nibbling all the young plants.
We were sorta lucky. We had a wire fence around our Victory Garden, but had been leaving the gate open. Sure as shooting, we started getting night visitors, too.
Even when it was closed, the gate wasn’t too good. Some little blockade-running varmints were slipping right past it. The neighbors had hung tin cans and old pans up to try to scare off the garden raiders, but they weren’t having much luck, either.
Daddy strung some old baling wire across the bottom of the gate, but it didn’t help.
After replanting several rows of vegetables, Daddy was getting madder by the day.
That look on his face was one I knew well.
But hold on; relief was on the way, thanks to a Tarzan movie playing at the Parr Theater. It may have been dark in that movie house, but a light bulb was burning brightly above my head.
It seems that a jungle village was having trouble with a pack of hungry lions.
At first, Old Tarzan and Cheetah yelled for a herd of elephants, but that helped about as much as the baling wire.
Jane came up with an idea to dig a hole and cover it with bamboo. That way, the lions would fall into the pit.
It sounded good to me. I made a beeline for the Plunder House as soon as I got home.
I grabbed a pick and shovel and headed for the Victory Garden.
I started digging a pit right beneath where the gate opened. Shucks, bamboo wasn’t a problem. We had a nice cane brake along one side of the yard where I got fishing poles.
Bless Pete, digging in that red clay dirt was slow, tedious work. Finally, I got a bit more than two feet deep.
“That’ll trap most garden varmints,” I thought. Old Tarzan would be proud.
Just about dark, I had the pit covered in bamboo.
I was ready to spring my trap. All I had to do was sit back and wait.
Early the next morning, I heard a thundering ruckus outside my raised bedroom window.
It was Daddy. Uh, oh, I clean forgot to mention the trap to him.
I hurried outside to set things straight.
Imagine my surprise. It turns out Daddy was my second catch of the day.
He fell through the bamboo covering, all right, but he wasn’t alone.
He was sharing the pit with a furry raccoon.
I really don’t know who was scared the most; me, Daddy or the raccoon.
Daddy survived without injury and thankfully, so did I (if you get my drift). The raccoon was placed in an old chicken cage and carried down to the farm and granted his freedom.
After a couple more days, I filled in the hole. It seems our sole Victory Garden varmint had been captured and the garden thrived.
I made a vow, too. From then on, whenever a Tarzan movie was playing, you could count on me to be there.
You know, I’d wager if Tarzan, Cheetah and Jane were still around, we just might find some other solutions to our problems.
They knew what they were doing.
Think about it... when was the last time you saw a pack of ravenous lions roaming through your back yard?