This is Part 2 of January’s
Crappy Old Book of the Month series. Read Part 1 “Why Crockett’s VIctory Garden?“
Only humans garden and write books. You may “[insert chimp with a typewriter joke here]” and you can argue until you are blue in the face about the extraordinary intelligence of Pan bonobo but nothing will change the fact that only humans garden and only humans write books.
When you add a book to your library you intend for it to serve a purpose– to enrich your life, to answer your questions, or to look pretty on your table. Books “may be ornaments, tools, or friends” as the Guide to Daily Reading (1917) tells us. But they offer to us something more than their words. Each invites us to meet its author– a human being whose life experiences led him to write those words about that subject at a time and in a place.
Who was Jim Crockett, host of a late-’70s PBS series and author of gardening books?
In the Preface to Crockett’s Victory Garden the show’s producer/director Russell Morash describes Jim as “a warm and friendly man.” Amazon reviewers say he was a “sweet gentle man” who “writes with a passion” about gardening. His wikipedia page is woefully short and inaccurate. (It fails to mention Crockett’s Tool Shed, a must-have for gardeners who love do-it-yourself money-saving tools and gadgets.)
Jim Crockett was a TV star, a man whose knowledge we are told by Morash was sought by and shared with thousands. He was Margaret’s husband and father of four grown children when he was first approached to do the show. He and Margaret had begun “to travel and do the things we had planned for so many years.” He was a self-described introvert, “frightened… by the impersonal eye glass of the camera.”
After all, I am a writer and a gardener, and both of these occupations are usually pursued in private, alone at a typewriter or pulling weeds in the garden. … I nearly panicked on an early show, and I wondered how I ever allowed myself to be put in such a position.
Jim Crockett was a writer and a gardener.
Look forward to Part 3 in the
Crappy Old Books of January series, “What is a ‘Victory Garden’ & How do I Get One?”
Crockett’s Victory Garden. James Underwood Crockett. Little/Brown and Company, Boston. 1977.