Her two big sisters were excited beyond words. The older one wanted to help with naming the new baby. The middle name was set already. It would be Rohner, her other grandmother's maiden name. So I took for granted she would have a very feminine name to offset that surname choice. But Big Sister, Samantha, and the baby's father, John, chose Blake, a name that seemed very masculine for this precious little girl all bundled up in pink. It turned out not to matter. Our Blake is our little girl, and "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
She's all grown up now, and I can't imagine her being anything but Blake. Her birthday is June 20, falling this year on Father's Day. We'll be celebrating on the 19th, and since we partied already on the day of her graduation just three weeks ago, we'll have to be creative in planning another "Blake" event so soon. (There's been another party since then for Blake's younger brother, Johnny, our first grandson, who just turned 16 - and you know what that means ... a driver's license!)
We've circled June 19 on all the calendars, but had to make very small entries in that block on the calendar. It's also opening day for the Main Street Woodstock Farmers Market, which will be held this year on Towne Lake Parkway in the parking lot behind Woodstock Community Church. The market will be operating from 9 a.m. until noon every Saturday through Sept. 18 except July 3.
Farming seems to be making a comeback around town. The community garden (on city property behind Chattahoochee Tech) is reminiscent of the Victory Gardens during World War II. Families have "leased" spots and planted, fertilized, watered and weeded, and the result is one huge garden in sections, a picture that could grace the cover of any gardening magazine. Since the gardens are next door to us, I'm anxiously awaiting harvest time, hoping the gardeners will be led to share their bounty with neighbors! Perhaps they can co-op in participating in the Farmers Market.
In-town gardens are quite the craze. Members of the original Woodstock Garden Club of the 1940s would be so proud to see today's generations and the fruits of their efforts. Once upon a time, most households had at least a small garden. Others, like my grandmother, just couldn't find a stopping place.
Our garden plot produced enough food for multiple families, and our summer days were spent in shucking corn, stringing beans, peeling tomatoes, cutting okra and squash and filling endless quart Mason jars with all of that. Cucumbers and cabbages multiplied like flies, and the milk churn played double duty as the cabbage turned to kraut and the cucumbers turned to dill pickles. In the midst of all this, we regularly went blackberry picking, and as I recall the dewberries were earlier and it was traditional that we have dewberry cobbler the first Sunday in June.
When the garden began to fade away, Grandma insisted that someone take her to Atlanta to the big farmers market where she could purchase bushels of peaches. Like all the other garden fresh vegetables, peaches wouldn't wait for another day. They demanded immediate attention.
For those of us with no green thumb, purchasing canned and frozen fruits and vegetables is a dream come true. But for those who love to play in the dirt, who stand amazed in the presence of sun and rain and rich soil, who relish the sight of that first green sprout and that first ripe tomato, a garden spot is their dream realized. The rest of us enjoy the results and are thankful for the dedication and hard work of these folks.
Samantha is one of those who loves to coax those seeds out of the ground. At Johnny's birthday party, the main menu item was to be pizza. What a surprise when we arrived at the party at her home ... pizza and fried squash! Let me tell you, it does not get any better than that.
Another event of June 19 is the monthly Main Street Sessions at Dean's Store. Often the programs feature writers or artists, and occasionally a music or drama group. This month the Store will host "The Storytellers," five longtime or native Woodstock residents who will make up a panel to discuss "the good old days."
We're hoping to hear some lively tales of early family life and perhaps new versions of old school days and church activities. Perhaps we'll uncover a few forgotten episodes about businesses in town, and even a baseball tall tale or two. With the Civil War sesquicentennial coming up, we need a few stories to share in that regard, including more about Reconstruction Gov. Rufus Bullock and his infamous barn. The program begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
For those of you who aren't invited to Blake's birthday party, you might want to spend that evening with Kurt Sutton (as Mark Twain) and friends as they present a benefit concert at Woodstock Community Church. The proceeds will benefit the Georgia Kidney Foundation through which Kurt's brother, "Boomer," hopes to receive a kidney transplant. No doubt Mr. Twain will have some amusing and thought-provoking insights into our present-day problems.
After a full day on Saturday, save a little energy to celebrate Father's Day on Sunday. Give those special guys in your life some well-deserved praise and tokens of your appreciation. My guy, the MOTH (Man of the House), would like nothing better than a good watermelon, planted, grown and harvested by a Georgia gardener. Better than a new shirt and tie any day.
Juanita Hughes is the retired manager of the Woodstock Public Library.