Sheldon's note: If you haven't read of this series up to this point yet, you should probably start reading from post 1 on until this post in order to understand the context of this post, and the events occurring in it.
As I have said in previous posts in this series, my dad's mental health was starting to improve, and in the last post, Social Security finally stepped in and helped us in a big way financially. All of this still didn't resolve the issue of his severe depression. He still didn't want to leave his room, no less go outside, nothing interested him at all, he felt like life was pointless. Mostly he was mourning the loss of all things he used to be able to do, work, drive, etc.
The loss of his job was especially hard, he had worked long hours at the company he worked for, and was there 25 years, it was a major part of his life, and no suddenly it's gone, and he had nothing do to take it's place, to give him a sense of having a reason to get up in the morning, which is important for someone with an obsessive personality.
ACE coursework, he would be out there digging the back yard up to plant a garden. I would join him in the evenings.
He wasn't happy about the idea, since an old foundation for a garage had been left behind about 6 inches below ground decades ago by a previous owner of the house, and so a tiller machine couldn't be used, it all had to be done by shovel. He was fussing and fuming with every turn of the shovel, turning half the backyard of the small 30x120 foot lot that their house is on into space for a garden. It was a lot of work digging, and planting, and trying to keep Rose, our large and rather stubborn Lab/Chow mix, out of it (read more about her here).
The planting was done, and it was quite a surprise to see how fast it grew, and how much food came in. Anyone who has had a vegetable garden can tell you that some vegetables like cucumbers and zucchini, will pour in fast all at once, he thought it was funny to watch how fast the plants grew, how big they got (some of the zucchini plants could get about 3 feet tall and about 4 feet in diameter), and how much hunting to took to find them all deep in the vines and bushes.
We would often give away cucumbers and zucchinis and tomatoes to neighbors and people passing by, we had so much of it pouring in, and it got to the point, that one time, we actually asked the pastor and church secretary if we could leave a boxful in the church foyer, everyone in the neighborhood had their fill of them and didn't want any more.
Finally getting out, having something to do, and talking to people from the neighborhood calmed him down, at least for most of the year anyway. The garden continued as a family tradition until about 5 years ago.