We will continue learning through living tonight and tomorrow and the day after, no matter what we do or where we go. Durham has helped us come to grips with reality and helped us to see how everything is basically rooted in the Great Creator, Christ, who directs us in our day-to-day experiences.
—Jane Reitsma, Durham Christian High School Valedictorian Speech, 1971
Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.
Perusing through the seed catalogue last spring, I was determined to grow something different in the garden. We always have amazing green beans, and we enjoy them all summer long. The yellow zucchinis are such a hit that our friends come looking for them. While I enjoy cultivating these old favorites, I was beginning to suffer from boredom, or “garden fatigue.” So this year, I grew okra.
I had only ever heard about okra from reading books about the southern United States. In these novels, it seemed that invariably, the children didn’t like the bitter taste and slimy texture of the vegetable. According to Wikipedia (so I realize this may be suspect), okra is known around the world by various names: okra, ochro, quigombo, gombo, and lady’s fingers. Different countries lay claim to the origin of okra, but it appears it was found in its wild state on the banks of the Nile River, and the Egyptians were the first to cultivate it in the twelfth century BC.
Okra is full of nutrients, enzymes, and all those healthy ingredients we seek. With such a rich history and myriad names, how could I not try my hand at growing this unknown (to me) vegetable? While weeding the garden in early July, I came upon a short row of plants that I couldn’t identify. They had the most beautiful yellow flowers, and looked unlike anything I had ever seen. This was okra in full bloom! I was thrilled, for the Canadian climate is not ideal for okra growing. More than one of my gardening friends was skeptical of my okra experiment, but to them I replied: what’s life without a few unknowns?