Ode to a Tool: My Mother’s Hoe

16 Apr

I loved this hoe.  Loved it.  It companioned me through many long, hot summer gardens.  Through early spring and late autumn gardens as well–a go-to companion.  Together we could dig-chop-weed-hill-cut anything.  And Sunday it broke.  I heard the first tell-tale creak of wood giving way and tried to ignore it.  But with the next chop into the bed I was breaking up, the neck broke.  And I was stunned.  Too stunned to continue working.  And so I reflected.hoe1

This was my mother’s hoe.  She treasured it beyond the beyond.  But somehow it ended up with me after an afternoon of working in her hosta bed.  This happens.  Unintentionally.  I seem to have the uncanny knack of walking off with things.  Lighters when I smoked.  Pens.  Pencils.  Scissors.  People who know me know it’s simply a thing I do without malice, forethought or intent.  I’d like to say she gave it to me with her blessing.  Asked me to “go forth” and do good work.  But that’s not the case.  Simply put, I don’t know HOW it came to be with me.

But I acknowledged my mother every time I used it  Must have said a hundred times to numerous different people, “This was my mother’s hoe.”  And I don’t remember anyone seeming the least bit curious about that.  About why I would mention the hoe’s origin.  And truthfully, I don’t know either.  Except it seemed important.  Seemed to honor both–the tool and the person.

I know how to fix this hoe.  How to burn out the old broken neck part.  Or drill it out.  But I don’t think I’ll do that.  Played with the idea of burying it, but don’t think I’ll do that either.  So for now it’s resting–a long needed rest I’d say–and I’m telling again the origin of this tool.  This was my mother’s hoe.

hoe 2

19 Responses to “Ode to a Tool: My Mother’s Hoe”

  1. Carol April 16, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    Repurpose, Patricia, a work of art, an ode to two lives well lived and joined by this piece.


    • Patricia April 16, 2015 at 11:03 am #

      thank you Carol. it makes me happy to have someone read this who knew mom.


  2. deemallon April 16, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    the importance of the object comes through…


    • Patricia April 16, 2015 at 11:03 am #

      yes–and some things just can’t be expressed in words–


  3. Marti April 16, 2015 at 10:11 am #

    Festoon it with some of your beautiful dyed cloth and plant it in the garden.


    • Patricia April 16, 2015 at 11:05 am #

      “fes toon”–what a wonderful word. sounds exactly like its meaning–and i take your suggestion to heart–we’ll see.


  4. Kara April 16, 2015 at 10:15 am #

    I love this post. She was a wonderful gardener and grandma. RIP.


    • Patricia April 16, 2015 at 11:06 am #

      oh Kara! i love that the mother i wrote about here was also your grandma. she smiles.


  5. nanacathy2 April 16, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    A beauteous mm hoe indeed. I have my father’s pond net, given to me last year whilst he was still at home.


    • Patricia April 17, 2015 at 8:51 am #

      these tools hold so much–memories and moments shared


  6. grace April 16, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    the photograph is ….what. the photograph is well….the photograph IS.
    i can’t find a word. maybe there is something then in just sitting with this broken necked
    mother hoe and waiting a while. What is the story? There is a story. a Teaching
    story. but then….burn it out and Repair, Mend. Go back to work, both you and
    the mother hoe.
    i love this, and who you are


    • Patricia April 17, 2015 at 8:59 am #

      i can’t find a word either. the absolute brokenness of it. and the story? well it could be as obvious as one shouldn’t leave wooden handled tools in the rain. but even if it’s that it, there’s still “something” behind that. i know not to leave tools out. i know this. and yet many summers this is simply where the hoe lived. outside. ready when i was. i’m scouting out wood–limbs, branches, etc–for a big fire–a big bonfire and when i build the fire, i’ll lay the hoe’s head, broken neck and all, in the flames. it is my element–fire–and so we will see what’s next


      • grace April 17, 2015 at 11:22 am #

        how it is absolute brokenness, but not at all “over”. Very Very much
        like the burning in the bonfire
        Sagittarians do this.


  7. Mo Crow April 16, 2015 at 11:59 am #

    I hope you fix it Patricia & if you ever visit please don’t take my best scissors!


    • Patricia April 17, 2015 at 9:00 am #

      ha! if i’m ever so lucky to land on your Sydney doorstep, you can be sure i’ll be extra mindful of scissors and everything else.


  8. jude April 17, 2015 at 4:14 pm #

    i have my father’s hoe. it is also in 2 pieces


    • Patricia April 18, 2015 at 8:00 am #

      2 pieces. i’ll look at it this way. 2 pieces rather than broken


  9. Angie April 22, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

    Oh the Hoe story really pulls at my heart strings—would love to have had my Mother’s hoe. 🙂


    • Patricia April 23, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

      our mother’s tools–i’m amazed at how they help me understand her better!


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