Not so long ago I prepared the soil in my garden for the crops I would plant for the summer of 2012. As I usually do, I laid my garden out in such a way that the rows would be even and easy to prevent the weeds from growing. With a five-foot tiller on my tractor I worked up the late spring soil almost every day until I had it worked into a find rich soil, free of weeds and stones.
Next I marked each row with a string to keep the plants straight and neat when I set them in the ground in a few days. When the possibility of frost passed, it was time to plant my garden. I loaded the plants and seed into my wife's garden wagon and set upon the task of planting. I was confident this year I would have the best garden any person could have. After all, this summer things would be different. You see this summer I joined the thousands of Americans that retired after a lifetime of work.
Nearly 37 years had passed since I began the job that I made my life's career. My family wanted me to have a celebration as I left work and began my retirement. There was no celebration on my first day at work and somehow I saw no need to celebrate my last day. I have always known when the time came to end my career I just wanted to walk out the front door and go home as I had done for many years.
Late in May I realized this would be my time to garden. As I planted each seed in the ground I knew that within a few days they would sprout and grow. Each would go from a seemly unimportant lifeless seed to a productive plant that would hopefully produce a crop for my family. With the help of Mother Nature, these seeds, if tended properly, would serve my needs for the future of my garden. They were like the seeds I planted along the way that I had hoped would grow into my retirement future. In my garden, I depended on Mother Nature to help with growing my plants. In my retirement, I hoped the taxes I have paid for over 45 years would be there for me if the government had tended to that portion of my retirement garden.
Each year as I plant, it marks the beginning of time for my garden. I realize that shortly the garden will grow into green plants and produce a crop. As the season passes, those same plants will fulfill their work and wither away. It is as if somewhere on a shelf, an hour glass is turned over and the sands begin to pass slowly through the small eye between the two glasses. I guess that is how I always saw my career. Each day was a grain of sand that passed with little notice. At first the passing days seem to make little difference. The days of work sometime seemed to pass so slowly, but as I looked back along time, I wonder how they had passed so quickly.
As I planted each seed last spring, I thought about harvest time and how my family would have green beans, tomatoes, and a variety of other garden vegetables. I thought about the wonderful things my wife would make with the bright red tomatoes and green peppers from our productive garden. The plans I made for the future of our garden to benefit our lives would hopefully fulfill our needs. I had also made plans for the future of my family and myself after the last day of work passed. That word that always seems so far away was no longer a distant dream, but a reality. I harvested my retirement from a lifetime of working.
The Federal government says thousands of people retire each day in this country and begin life after a working career. Just like me, those men and women who believed that if you worked hard and planned for the future, then it would be okay. Each of us did our part, worked hard and paid our taxes like we were supposed too. And just like the seeds I planted, we hoped the taxes we sent to Washington would grow and produce when our time came to harvest for our retirement life. As the summer ended, I began to harvest my garden's crops and made good use of the vegetables. But I wonder if my retirement garden tended by the government has done as well. All Americans who played by the rules and believed the government was supposed to tend the gardens of our retirement may wonder if they have not been good gardeners.
As the elections approach we are told by one political party they have the answers to make our garden grow for our use and those that follow in the future. In the next news report, the other party tells us they have the answers to make our gardens grow. At the same time both parties are telling us the other party is the weeds that choke the life out of our gardens.
I may not be the smartest feller around, but I do know those politicians on TV may be spreading too much fertilizer on our gardens. And like any fertilizer, if you spread too much, it will kill the garden. I wish I knew which one to believe. The one thing I do know is that if those people running for office spent more time listening to those who worked hard, pay their taxes, and got their hands dirty planting gardens in their lives, we all would be better off.
My time to harvest my garden has come. I have planted the seeds and tended to the plants. I have hopefully spread the correct amount of fertilizer to keep my garden productive for many years to come. I have done all that I was supposed to do. I just hope those politicians in Washington remember that we hired them to tend our gardens and too much fertilizer will kill not only the weeds, but also the good plants.
In the next few weeks, Jack Frost will return and end this season of my summer's garden. The vegetables from this season have been frozen, dried, and put up for the winter ahead. The future of our retirement life is also planned and hopefully we have put away enough to see us through the years ahead. It's time Washington wakes up and remembers they are tending the gardens of millions of hard working men and women across this great country. The garden has enough fertilizer, it's time to be smart in our garden and help it grow for all Americans, as I see it Thru the Lens.