Conrad begins to garden

At the age of six, I planted my first seed in my grandfather’s garden. It grew into his favorite plant, a watermelon. He was proud to have it in his garden. It was not until after his death did I try to feel that same pride in a garden of my own.

A World War II veteran, my grandfather, Virgil “Gray” Conrad, was a great man. He was a magnificent father to my dad and my aunt. His name runs through our lineage, and his blood runs through my veins.

His garden, lush and flourishing, acted as a safe haven for him even in the winter. Although he cut hair for a living, my grandfather spent hours upon hours caring for his garden. It was so close to him in spirit that it reflected his well-being.

My grandmother passed away in the winter of 2010 and shortly after, he passed away. His once proud and prosperous garden dwindled to the brink of extinction.

At the end of my sophomore year, I went back to that garden and remembered planting that melon seed.

I promised to finish what he started. My grandfather’s favorite plants now grow in my own garden. I am determined to spread the pride he carried. This column, dedicated to him, carries with it the pride he once felt. If I am lucky enough, his story will inspire others to find a bond in something special or forgotten.


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