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Pushing for victory – gardening can help

How are you holding up? The situation becomes more and more personal, doesn’t it? But look around your neck of the woods. See the hope. It won’t be long before everything is in full bloom. Red buds cluster on maple trees, daffodils and jonquils are in full regalia. Blackberries and elderberries, lilies, irises and rose bushes are putting off new leaves and stems. It’s time to get the gardens ready for planting.

The History Channel (history.com) shares an article, “America’s Patriotic Victory Gardens,” telling us that “During World War I, a severe food crisis emerged in Europe as agricultural workers were recruited into military service and farms were transformed to battlefields. As a result, the burden of feeding millions of starving people fell on the United States.” (It’s interesting reading. Check it out and learn about the roots of the brave people in America today.) When the U.S. entered World War II, the victory gardens made a comeback. People planted in their yards, abandoned lots around town, containers of all kinds. Eleanor Roosevelt planted a garden on the White House lawn.

I remember my father talking about the gardens his father planted, one in the yard and two on other properties where he got permission from the owner of the fields. Before he left on Sunday night to spend the week in the coal mines south of Pittsburgh, his instructions were for the kids to weed the garden at the house, then move to the next closest one, then the third one. By that time it was time to weed the garden at home again.

Analogies have been made between war and the silent enemy we are battling currently. There may not be a National War Garden Commission now, but there’s a lot to be said about gardening. (Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. You might find that you enjoy the planning, planting, harvesting and preserving of some of your own food.)

You may feel down in the dumps or depressed or frightened about current events and there is help available for those things. But also, there is something to be said about digging in the dirt, planting flowers, fruits, herbs and vegetables and learning about gardening and what you can do with the produce of all that labor. It just may be that when you are busy playing in the dirt in your garden you can set aside the things that trouble your mind. You can enjoy the sunshine on beautiful days, pulling out the dead leaves and debris from perennials and discovering the new growth that comes with spring. You can shout across the street to your neighbor about how beautiful the clusters of daffodils in their yard are. You can check on each other over the fence in your yard.

Lori Criss, director of OhioMHAS (Mental Health and Addiction Services), appeared on Tuesday’s telecast of Gov. Mike DeWine’s press conference (which you can watch every day at 2 p.m. on WNEO 45, the local PBS station. Criss addressed the emotional and mental health of everyone in Ohio, offering suggestions about ways you can help others and, at the same time see to your own well being. You can find helpful information. Some places to check out:

– coronavirus.ohio.gov

– together@governor.ohio.gov

– and mha.ohio.gov

These are reliable sources with reliable information to help you. And remember, there is hope.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the web site at www.familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

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