Dad’s Weird Weeding Lesson

By Linda Porter Carlyle

Trevor Paul Monroe frowned. “I hate weeding!” he said.

“I know,” Dad answered. He tucked a section of the morning newspaper under his arm. “But let’s get started.”

Trevor dragged his sneakers as he walked through the kitchen and into the garage behind Dad. Dad opened the cupboard where the little black plastic trays for starting seeds and the potting soil and the shovels and rakes were stored. Dad took his big garden gloves from the shelf and handed Trevor his smaller ones.

Outside, the sun was shining brightly. Trevor sighed. He couldn’t believe that he really had to pull weeds instead of playing basketball with Matthew across the street. He was sure he was the only boy in the neighborhood who would be on his knees in the garden instead of shooting hoops.

“OK,” Dad said, looking around. “We’ll start with the roses.”

Dad and Trevor knelt down beside the thorny bushes. “They’re looking good,” Dad said with a smile. “We’ll have plenty of roses to cut for bouquets this summer.”

Trevor couldn’t see what the big deal was about having flowers in the house. He knew Mom liked it though. And Dad did too. It must be something you didn’t understand until you were a grown-up, like so many other things in life seemed to be.

Dad spread open the newspaper and laid it on the grass. He sat back on his heels and looked at Trevor. “I want you to put each weed you pull on this newspaper,” he said. “But don’t just throw it on the newspaper. Kind of line the weeds up. I want you to count them.”

Trevor couldn’t believe that he had heard correctly. “You want me to count the weeds?” he asked. “Why?” Then he had a sudden thought. “Are you going to pay me for each weed I pull?”

Dad laughed. “Well, that’s not exactly what I had in mind. But I could consider it.” Dad leaned over and began to pull the little weeds growing up here and there and everywhere underneath the rosebushes.

Trevor watched Dad for a minute. Dad was actually carefully laying the weeds he pulled in a neat row across the top of the newspaper. Trevor shook his head. Weird!

Trevor and Dad worked together quietly. It wasn’t really so bad pulling weeds if you were working with Dad, Trevor thought. Dad worked quickly and happily, and he hummed little made-up tunes. It wasn’t like pulling weeds with Brad and Ben, his big brothers. That took forever, because the three of them always ended up in a dirt-clod-throwing war.

The newspaper section began to fill up with rows and rows of weeds. Dad pulled another piece of the paper out and started a new line of weeds along the top.

“Why are we lining up weeds?” Trevor asked.

“Count them, and see how many we’ve pulled,” Dad answered.

“OK,” Trevor said. He began to count. “One hundred and twenty-two,” he finally announced.

“Not nearly enough,” Dad commented. He began to whistle.

Trevor and Dad worked their way down the row of roses. Mom had carefully printed the name of each rosebush on a little white stick that she had pushed into the ground near the bush. Trevor liked reading the names as he worked. The roses had names like “Peace,” and “Mr. Lincoln,” and “Garden Party.” And then there were some hard to read names like “Baroness de Rothschild,” and “General Jacqueminot.”

“So how many weeds do we have now?” Dad asked, wiping his forehead with the back of his glove.

“One hundred twenty-two, one hundred twenty-three,” Trevor began to count. “Three hundred and ninety,” he finished.

“Keep weeding,” Dad said.

The next time Dad asked Trevor to count the weeds, there were 511 of them. 511 weeds lying in neat rows on sections of newspapers spread all over the lawn.

“That’s too many,” Dad said. “Take off twenty-one of them,” he instructed.

Trevor did as he was told. He had decided not to ask any more questions about this totally strange chore. He looked at Dad. “There,” he said. “That’s 490 weeds.”

“Hum-m-m,” Dad said. His eyes twinkled. “490. Didn’t I hear you hollering at Brad to say you were never going to forgive him if he took your basketball again without asking first? 490…”

Trevor suddenly got it. He looked at the lines and lines of weeds. “490 is really a lot!” he exclaimed.

“I’m pretty sure that’s the point of your Sabbath School lesson,” Dad said. “Jesus told Peter he needed to forgive each person who sinned against him seventy times seven times. You know what Jesus really meant by that, don’t you?”

“Yeah,” Trevor said with a grin. “He meant that I have to forgive Brad 489 more times if he takes my basketball without asking. I’ll probably forget to keep track.”

“That’s the point too.” Dad carefully rolled up a section of newspaper, trapping all the weeds inside. Then he leaned over and bonked Trevor on the head with it.

Trevor hurriedly rolled up more newspaper, and the battle was on.

Related posts

A Hard Decision

“This family meeting is an especially important one,” Dad began. “I want to hear all your opinions. We’ve been studying the Bible with the Pattersons for almost three months now, and your mother and I are convinced that what we’ve been studying is the truth. Do you all agree?”

Read More

Seeing God’s Gifts

Michael Arthur Patterson leaned against the window, listening to the hiss and patter of raindrops. Usually he liked the sound of the rain, but it had been raining all week, and he was sick of it.

Read More