My Pet Potato
One day my wife brought home a bag of Japanese sweet potatoes (“satsumaimo”) for dinner.
Several weeks later I was vacuuming the house (one of my perpetual husbandly chores), and underneath the kitchen table I was surprised, and then angry to find a lost, forgotten potato from that day. It had fallen / was dropped onto the floor and then rolled / was kicked under the table unnoticed. Like many Japanese, it seems to me that Junko has a great capacity not to notice things. I mean, she is positively pregnant with obliviousness. By the time I found it the potato was soft for lack of water, a little discolored, and host for some accumulated dust. But I noticed that small roots had sprouted from the faded reddish skin in search of light and life. Poor thing! I was impressed by this Quest for Survival. It reminded me of Dr. Malcolm’s (Jeff Goldblum’s) observation in Jurassic Park, “Life will find a way,” and immediately took pity on the potato. So instead of throwing it in the trash or bringing its condition to Junko’s attention as a reprimand I put it into a glass of tap water to support its lust for life.
Within a day the rejuvenation of the potato was easily evident. Its skin color improved. The firmness of the root swelled, and the small shoots grew like - like shoots from a potato. Only, they were not roots. They were leaves.
Feeling like some kind of a horticultural genius, I quickly took to my potato-saving project and adopted the vegetable as a kind of pet. I went to a local dollar store and acquired a bag of potting soil and a plastic planter box and moved the potato from the kitchen window sill to the balcony for fresh air and more sunshine (and easier watering). Like an elementary school science project I watched it every day, watered it with care, and felt pride to see stems with leaves climb out of the cheap dollar store dirt.
In the humid summer time I felt disappointed that the leaves and stems did not proliferate like I anticipated. Maybe the roots quickly reached the limit of the soil in the planter. Some leaves shriveled and died. Was it potato fungus? New leaves grew. I kept up the watering and the daily checking. Was I watering it too much? Better not dig it up to check on it. Leave God’s potato to itself. It was almost like being a new parent all over again. Whoopee!