Fifteen minutes

This blog began as something of a fluke. Steve and I were digging in the garden plot, and trading quips, and a little voice in my head said, “Write this down.”

I like listening to the little voices in my head. Sometimes, when they talk, they say useful things. Of course, sometimes they say things like, “No, you do not need to go to the gym, you Mia Hamm, you! You’re already in perfectly good shape!” Or, “People in Belgium have been eating their fries with mayonnaise for years and do you EVER hear about them being overweight? No you do not.” Or, “They give you those sick days for the days when you FEEL sick. And today, you FEEL sick.”

So I started a blog. And, one day, a reporter from the Des Moines Register emailed me to ask if I had time to talk to her for a feature story on Iowa garden bloggers. Also, could a photographer come take a picture of me in my garden?

Am I an American? Am I not a child of the post-Warhol generation? Hell, yeah.

So, on a Thursday, I raced home from work to meet Harry Baumert, the Register’s Eastern Iowa photographer, who had left a cheerful message on my voicemail confirming that he’d be there at 6 p.m. to take pictures of my “beautiful garden.”

There was only one problem. It had been cold, and there had been cucumber beetles, and I didn’t actually have much in the way of a beautiful garden anymore. “You might be disappointed,” I said, as I led Harry through the house to the back yard.

“I’m sure it’s fine,” he said. But then we got outside and he looked around. “This will be, um, challenging,” he said.

I’m usually on the other side of the camera, so I found myself quite alarmed at the prospect of becoming the subject of a portrait. I expressed this clearly and honestly by repeating everything Harry said.

“Yes, um, challenging,” I said, letting off an explosive laugh. “I told you.”

“We can move some pots around, if that would help,” offered Steve.

“I think that would work,” Harry said.

“That would work,” I said.

Harry asked if I had any gardening accessories I could use in the photo. “An apron, maybe? Or some gardening gloves?”

“Some gardening gloves!” I knew my Dad would appreciate the appearance of the blue gloves in the photo. I ran inside and retrieved them, and picked up a trowel on the way back out the door.

Harry shoots meHarry settled me on the ground behind two of our Golden Summer pepper pots. He twisted and turned the pots so the pepper would frame me, then waited for the sun, which was setting behind my head, to drop out of the shot. “Hold very, very still,” he said.

My entire body began to tremble. My face felt frozen. I had the nearly uncontrollable urge to giggle.

“You’re brave to wear white pants in the garden,” he said as he snapped the shutter.

“White pants in the garden,” I repeated. “Actually, they’re khaki. They’ll wash.”

“Move your head a little more to the right. No, left. No, right again,” Harry said. “Tilt your body just so…yes! Now hold that.”

I held, glad I had taken so many Pilates classes. Who would have thought sitting still could be so hard?

“Think of it as suffering for your garden,” Harry said.

“Suffering for my garden,” I said. “Yes, I think I’ve done some of that before.”

Yesterday morning, Steve fired up his laptop to check the Register site. Erin Crawford, the reporter, had told me the story might appear in the Saturday edition. “Try the Home and Garden section,” I said.

Steve scrolled down the front page of the site for a moment, then stopped at a picture of an eggplant we know and love.

“Whoa,” I said.

“That looks awfully familiar,” Steve said.

Sure enough. Our eggplant and our garden, making news.

Photo credit: Steve McNutt


10 Responses to “Fifteen minutes”

  1. 1 Kalyn September 3, 2006 at 8:35 am

    Genie, how totally cool. I have a feeling that you’ll be getting more than your 15 minutes worth before you’re done!! Congratulations.

  2. 2 Pakpics September 3, 2006 at 9:53 am

    very nice post. I am totally inspired by this. Keep posting wonderful stuf at your garden.

  3. 3 steven September 3, 2006 at 10:28 am

    Some day, when you’re famous I can say “I helped her diagnose the fungus on her peppers.”

  4. 4 cole September 3, 2006 at 10:36 am

    You are a supa star baby.


  5. 5 inadvertentgardener September 3, 2006 at 11:31 am

    Thanks, y’all! So sweet… :-)

  6. 6 sher September 3, 2006 at 12:22 pm

    As always–I love reading your posts. You looked so pretty in the newspaper article. You’re a star!!!! And your eggplant looked darn good! I think he rose to the challenge! :):)

  7. 7 Janet September 3, 2006 at 6:41 pm

    We’re all saying congratulations, but really, deep down, we’re insanely jealous! ;o)

    Well, a little jealous anyway. I think my sanity is more or less intact.

  8. 8 Dori September 3, 2006 at 11:26 pm

    That is really neat, thanks for sharing it. Nice to meet the face behind the terroristic assault on that garden bug – that was the very first day I read your garden blog and I’ve been a regular reader ever since. I guess I like a little gore in my blog picks. :)

  9. 9 Annie in Austin September 4, 2006 at 1:41 pm

    When do the tour buses start arriving? Congratulations!

  10. 10 Angela September 4, 2006 at 3:28 pm

    How cool! I’m a first year gardener and I’ve been reading your blog since I did an internet search for “moldy zuchinni”. I actually bookmarked you just last week! Thanks so much for your delightful writing. I’ve learned a lot from you and your commentors.

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