Clark Hollow Ramblings: The Winter of Discontent

Google will tell you that the phrase, “now is the winter of our discontent,” is from John Steinbeck’s last novel, and he, no doubt, borrowed it from a play by William Shakespeare about Richard III. Well, I think it is time we “rebranded” that phrase and brought it up to date. So says Richard I.

I don’t know about you but this has been a long winter for this old man. Some months ago, I lost my speaking voice. I think I have now seen six different doctors and had two hospital procedures, and I don’t know how many x-rays and scans.

One procedure that I had required I be put to sleep and they ran a long tube down my throat. I think they went far enough that I can probably skip next years’ colonoscopy.

The good news and the bad news are the same: They didn’t find anything. All my friends say use some honey, hot tea, lemon juice, bourbon and a number of other home remedies. I have been through almost a quart of honey and two fairly large bottles of snakebite medicine, and none of it has helped. Oh yes, there were a couple of times after using too much of some of those home remedies that I didn’t care if I couldn’t talk, but when my head cleared, I still sounded — and still sound — like a frog, or worse.

I hope you have had better luck with your winter issues. A week or two ago I was looking for something to do to get my spirits up and I went by the garden and thought I should be getting it ready to plant the early stuff. Then I thought to myself, we have had too much rain and it is too wet. In any event, I still grabbed a shovel and dug into one of my raised beds. I couldn’t believe how dry it was.

The next thing I did was go to the co-op and get my seed potatoes and onions and some lettuce and radish seed and six little broccoli plants. Then I tilled up the beds, cut my potatoes, laid off the rows, put a bit of fertilizer in them and planted what I had. Of course, two days later we had an inch and a quarter of rain and now it has gotten cold again. The year seems to be starting off like last year, when I had one of the least productive gardens I have had in a long time.

Still, I like having my vegetable garden. My bride spends most of her time in the flower beds. I guess she is more romantic than I. And the beauty of the flowers does make the world a better place. I am sure of it. But if I am going to be out there punishing my old knees and back digging in the ground, I want something I can eat for my trouble. I guess I’m too practical.

And speaking of something good to eat, someone must have declared April 6 National Breakfast Day. Two of my favorite groups are having fundraising breakfasts that Saturday morning. The good folks at Willis Chapel United Methodist Church are having their big breakfast that day. And rest assured, from someone who has been to their breakfasts, you will not be disappointed. On the same day, and thankfully, at the other end of the county, Darcy Canton and the Rappahannock Seniors are having their fundraiser breakfast at the Rappahannock Senior Center on Scrabble Road in Castleton. It would be nice if you could get to both of them, but please try to get to one or the other. These are both worthy causes and you get some good grub, to boot.

I can’t believe the Lenten season is well underway. Easter seems awfully late this year, but think about it: It gives us more time to be thankful for all we have been blessed with. I hope we have some good warm and dry weather before too much longer and I hope you are able to get out and enjoy it.

That reminds me that my beautiful mother used to always say, “Son, it will get warmer after Easter.” And you know something? She was always right. Hope springs eternal in the springtime.

Now, there is a thought that didn’t come from Google, and here is another one: Stay well and warm and God bless you, and if you are into such things, get those potatoes in the ground before too much longer.

Richard Brady
About Richard Brady 154 Articles
Richard Brady was born and raised within sight of Rappahannock Peak, as was his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather, etc. He graduated from George Mason University and was employed for 35 years with various agencies of the federal government. He retired in 2001, and he and his wife, Linda, live in Flint Hill, Va.