Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Never Give Up!

A story about a fat cat and the cornfield.
Written by: Attila Farkas



I live in the city of Barrie, where most people have manicured loans in front of the house and also in the backyard. My neighbors are proud of their freshly cut grass, flowers and small evergreens, organized as colorful English style gardens. No one had vegetable gardens around my house except for an older Italian lady behind my property. Planting salads, tomatoes, cucumbers cabbage, carrots and other vegetables seemed out of place and out of style, but I didn't care. I was craving for a lush green vegetable garden. The only truly organic vegetables you can enjoy are the ones that you plant yourself. I grew up on a farm and having non-functional green grass everywhere didn't seem like a good idea. The first year my vegetable garden was so successful and beautiful that my neighbor decided to plant one herself. The tide was turning; maybe I can influence others to plant vegetables instead of just watching the grass grow. My initial success made me want even more vegetables in my garden. I have built a living fence to protect my vegetables from my German shepherd dog, Nero and behind the fence, in relative safety, I had planted a cornfield. The cornfield was 20 feet long and 5 feet wide with five rows of corn. Altogether about 300 little corn plants. That's a nice size corn field for a city backyard. I could already see my three kids running around it and playing hide and seek just before Halloween. I have planted the corn in late April, watered them and when I checked on them the next day I could not believe my eyes. No, they did not grow overnight. They have disappeared overnight. Something dug small holes where I planted the corn and took each and every one of them. The kids used to feed chipmunks on our patio and it was obvious who the thieves were.
I always tell my kids to never ever give up on their plans and keep going no matter what happens. I also had to teach the Chipmunks a lesson. I have planted about 300 corns in the exact same place where they were before. I figured I'd play a trick on the chipmunks or squirrels or whatever it was that took my corn. After I planted my future corn field I have placed a quarter of a teaspoon of hot Cajun Pepper powder on the soil right above each kernel that was on the ground. That would've made a lot of good Hungarian goulash, but if it can protect my corn field it will be just as good. The very next day my son Peter checked the cornfield and ran back to the kitchen with a strangely excited expression on his face.
“Daddy the chipmunks like the hot peppers! They ate them all, “Peter said. It seemed like he was rooting for the enemy, but he was just excited that they were able to eat all that hot pepper and the corn at the same time.
I went out and checked to see if it was true and it was. Every single piece of corn was dug up and taken against its will which means corn-napping. That is a serious offense in my book and at that moment I have declared war on the chipmunks. I thought about trapping them or even shooting them with my pellet gun, but they are too cute to shoot or to trap. I had to find a way to beat them at their game. I have planted the corn field again the third time because you can never ever give up and I really wanted to see a beautiful green corn field by my fence. This time I have built a small greenhouse right on top of the cornfield and made sure that the chipmunks cannot get in. It took me several weeks to take care of the garden water the corn daily, but after about a month it was amazing to see 300 corn plants lining up in five rows just like green soldiers. It appeared that I had won the war against the chipmunks and the corn was about 4 feet tall in the middle of July when another challenge presented itself. The corn plants were very long and thin and were just getting stronger when an unusually strong storm system came through. The wind gusts were over one hundred kilometers an hour at times and even if the cornfield would have survived the storm there was another factor that I could have never calculated in. One of my neighbors owns a fat cat. A really, really fat cat. I have nothing against fat cats but this one was a bit overconfident for its size. It was over 20 pounds, just a gray mass of fur, fat and some muscle and he used to walk along my 8-foot fence. Despite the hurricane force winds, the fat cat decided to stroll along again on the top of my fence, when... The strong wind picked him up from behind, turned him into a twenty-pound hairy balling ball with a tail spinning like a propeller and aimed him right against my corn field. Let’s see how many rows of corn he can knock down in one shot. The corn plants were just like the bowling pins and the cat demolished most of them with the first try. The wind and rain took care of the rest of them.
When I came home from work that afternoon the entire family was standing in front of the sliding door to cover the view of my destroyed corn field.
“We have some bad news,” my wife said.
“The storm destroyed the cornfield,” my son Peter said.
“The fat cat was on top of the fence today,” my daughter Erika said.
“I saw the Chipmunks again I think they came back,” announced Thomas, my youngest son.
I stood there at the sliding door looking at my corn field; most of the plants were broken in half only two or three were standing from the 300. I put on my raincoat and went out to the garden and was standing there in front of my corn field in disbelief. The whole thing was gone, destroyed, mutilated by the storm and the fat cat. I could feel my blood pressure rise and my heart rate quicken. I was getting really mad. I was ready to pull the first broken corn right out of the ground and then rip out all of them.
I’m going to rip the whole thing right out,” I said, not realizing that my son Peter was standing right behind me.
“But daddy, you said to never give up,” Peter said and looked at me with his big blue eyes. I was very close to giving up and he was there to witness it.
I looked up into the raining sky and let the showering raindrops calm me down.
“Can you get me some stakes from the building supply store,” asked my wife and as she was heading out I looked for strings. After she came back with the five feet long stakes I drove them into the ground with a hammer and tied up the corn, one by one. Only a three of them survived the ordeal and produced a half a dozen corn on the cub. I let them ripen and in October they turned golden yellow. My pride and promise had stayed intact and can still say that it is true: You never, ever give up on anything that is important to you.
If you ever see chipmunks around Barrie and they are constantly sneezing; it’s not a genetic mutation. The Cajun pepper finally started working on them...