Like many people, my dad has had a lifelong passion for gardening--in particular, vegetable gardening. For as long as I can remember, there has always been a small plot in my parents' backyard in Houston dedicated to growing peppers, cucumbers, okra, peas, tomatoes, beans and a host of other edible root and vine plants. In the past couple of years, his crop variety has expanded to include fruit trees. On my last visit home, he proudly walked me into the backyard to show me his newly planted sapling trees. We inspected small trees that, if all goes according to plan, will one day bear oranges, figs, pecans, plums and peaches.
For some of the trees in his "orchard," maturity is several years away. Once mature, there will be a bounty for years to come. But in the meantime, he tends and nurtures his young trees. He protects them from extreme weather and pests. He invests time, resources and his own "sweat equity." His trees require attention virtually every day. He knows that without his care and attention, otherwise healthy young trees may never bear fruit.