ERROL CASTENS: Crises range from tomatoes to leaking oil

Roger knocked on the back door. When I opened it, he announced, “I can’t take it anymore.”
I wasn’t sure whether he and Roberta had had a spat or whether he was lambasting the statist approach of the political class. The answer came when he pulled me toward the door and pointed down the steps to where he had set a roll of baling twine, a pair of garden shears and a 4-foot length of one-inch PVC pipe.
“Whatever you’re doing, stop it,” he said. “Your cherry tomatoes are dragging the ground, and you and I are going to go tie them up right now.”
I gulped and obeyed. I’d had great intentions to get every horticultural task done this year as it came due, but I was so far behind that I’d had to forgo hoeing the garden in favor of mowing it. I’d kept up with the tomato trellising early on but now had as much vine hanging down as tied up.
I closed my Web Book, put on a hat and followed Roger outside. In the garden I carefully lifted vines from one side as he wove twine under them and around the rebar that I’d placed after every other plant in each row. Once assured we would fulfill his vigil of getting the vegetables vertical again, he felt freed to nibble at the edge of some ideas he thought I should understand.
We talked about the irony of having President Obama tell the rest of the world’s economic leaders that we all need to keep spending, as though excess and misdirected spending has nothing to do with economic problems, either macro- or micro-.
“When you’re in trouble, always do more of whatever caused the trouble,” Roger mused.
Moving from a row of SunSugar to a mixed row of Wild Cherry, Juliet and Sweet 100s, we changed to the subject of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.
“We’re setting new records daily for the country’s worst environmental disaster, yet we shoot ourselves in the foot by protecting union jobs, stopping vital equipment to make petty safety inspections and trying to look in control by turning down all offers of foreign help when we need all the help we can get,” Roger said.
After we’d chewed on that a while, we agreed on the audacity it takes for the administration to sue Arizona for trying to enforce a federal law that the administration doesn’t want enforced, no matter what problems illegal aliens cause for the citizens of Arizona or for the country as a whole. Roger said this situation bore an ironic parallel to the other two we’d digested.
“Regarding the national debt, the Gulf and the southern border all,” he said, “the first priority is to fix the leak.”

Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or

Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

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