The New Girl

Visitors to our greenhouse often compliment us on the innovative varieties we introduce every year. If I have time, I take them out to our wonderful trial garden, for a peek at some of the varieties we’ll be offering next spring. And I always tell them a little story about the woman in charge of that garden.

One summer, an eleven-year-old girl named Valerie came to work for us. She wanted a job to earn enough money to buy a new trail bike. On her first morning, we took her up to the field and left her in the pea patch to pick, promising to come back for her later in the day.

That afternoon, Ted was changing a tire on the John Deere 1020 tractor. The axle fell and came down on his leg, breaking it badly. He was a mess. We bundled him into the truck and headed for the nearest hospital, in Edmonton. In the confusion, we completely forgot about Valerie. She stayed up in that field, wondering when someone would check on her and feeling lonely—and slightly annoyed—as the hours dragged on.

Finally, around 6:00 pm, she wandered down on her own and found the farm abandoned. She rode home in a fury. Her mother asked how her first day of work had gone.

“They stuck me up in a pea patch all day and no one came to check on me. They just left me there! I’m never going back again!”

“Calm down,” her mother told her. “You can’t quit a job on the first day. Something must have happened. Please go back tomorrow and try again.” Little did Valerie’s mom know what the happy results of this advice would be.

As the days went by and I got to know Valerie better, I realized this girl was exceptional. Smart as all get-out, a hard worker, nice looking—she could even cook a little. In short, she was a mother-in-law’s dream!

So, year after year, I made sure to rehire her, and every year she came back. Soon, during our u-pick period, Valerie was the one driving people out to the fields. She later went on to university, and we still kept hiring her. And my son Bill kept right on ignoring her. Sometimes, when you plant something, it seems to take forever for it to flower.

Finally—finally!—he noticed. And he married her.

Now, if you don’t think that’s an arranged marriage, I have news for you!

-Lois Hole I'll Never Marry A Farmer