Friday, 4 June 2010

GARDENING THE BURKISS WAY


I wish to apologize that this blog post has nothing to do with The Burkiss Way, The humorous and satirical BBC radio program that was popular in the UK during the late seventies. In actual fact, this is the story of a teacher who taught me about how plants grow. She also played a trick on me which was in no way inspired by The Burkiss Way, being that the incident happened ten years before the program first aired. From my Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir, that never once mentions The Burkiss Way, here is what happened.

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Along with the usual clothes and school work folders, Mrs. Parker allowed me to take home the plants which we grew in Mrs. Patrick's class. I cannot recall what variety they were but I fondly remember a trick which my favourite teacher played on me. Along with my seed of whatever it was we planted, Mrs. Patrick sprinkled various other seeds which all sprouted too. "I didn't think they'd all come up," she admitted to me afterwards.

I took my duties seriously, having been warned that the plants would wither and die if I failed to water them. On the first day of our education in gardening, I poured a cup of water into the wooden planter as our teacher instructed. When I touched the soil, it still felt dry. I decided maybe it needed more and poured in another glass. As the dirt still felt dry, I poured a third glass into the planter.

"Brucey, stop!" Mrs. Patrick exclaimed. "You're getting water all over the floor." I looked down at my shoes and realized I had caused a small flood. "There are holes in the bottom of the planter so the plants won't get too much water and drown."

"I'm sorry for the mess," I apologized. "Will I get in trouble for this?"

"Don't worry, the janitor will mop this up," she reassured.

When I showed Mom the plants, she was amazed by the colour of the dirt. It was brown and not black like the prairie soil she knew since childhood.

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Deliverance from Jericho contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. This 196-page paperback, containing 6 black and white photos, is available through the PayPal-equipped and Burkiss Way-free InScribe writers group website. E-mail me for further information or if you don't have PayPal but still wish to place an order. I promise not to mention The Burkiss Way either. Of course, anybody who wishes to discuss The Burkiss Way with me is welcome to do so.