I met a fascinating woman in church last Sunday. She just moved in with
her daughter and son-in-law. Her name is Hilda and she's 78 years old,
but she gets around more than I do. She came to live in her daughter's
home after she was caught farming in a cemetery. The dedicated gardener
was growing tomatoes and peppers around some of the tombstones. Officials
didn't even notice until she started using zoo-doo as fertilizer. They
received complaints after Hilda spread rhino dung around her
eggplants-which happened to be planted on the south side of a prominent
Pittsburgh family's mausoleum.
Why zoo-doo? She's a member of the zoo walking club. Every Friday her
elephant trainer friend gives her a five pound bag of whatever happens to
be dropped that morning.
I inquired as to why she began farming at the cemetery in the first
place. She replied, "My balcony planters were full to the brim. I saw all
that wasted space across from my apartment and thought I'd use it." And
use it she did. At first she just planted edible flowers. Then she
expanded and threw in some ornamental herbs, kale, and rhubarb. When she
got away with that, Hilda went hog wild and put in an entire vegetable
crop. Of course, it wasn't too noticeable because it was spread out all
over the graveyard. The lettuce was under the maple tree with the Westin
plot. The zucchini were at Benjamino and Sofia
Basso's, and the butternut squash were with the Linzenbiegler family. I
thought she was especially clever in planting her potatoes with the
O'Tooles. Hilda had a good thing going…until she got busted.
But now she's happily settled in the downstairs bedroom at her daughter's
place. She has plenty of room in the backyard to garden. And every Friday
she rides the bus to the zoo for her walk and five pounds of fertilizer
(double bagged, of course). Hilda can grow anything anywhere. One thing
she won't be growing is grass under her feet.
Reprinted from the August 1999 issue of THE PHOENIX, |
the monthly newsletter of Western Pennsylvania Mensa,
Tamara Wardell, editor. Reprinted with permission.