My friend Bob was given a fig tree by his father-in-law . I asked for a cutting . That was , I think , thirty years ago , or maybe a few more . My cutting grew into a small tree . It’s a petite little thing . It produces a handful of delicious yellow figs each year . It grows quietly out back and minds its own business .
The Italian father-in-law lived on Staten Island . A dedicated and diligent gardener , evidently . Bob said the father-in-law grew figs outside in pots on his brick patio on Staten Island . He had bricked in his yard . When the cold weather comes the father-in-law moves the plants indoors . He’s a serious gardener . He shared a cutting of one of his figs with Bob thirty five years ago or so . He brought it out to California to give it to Bob .
One day Bob asked me , desperately , seriously , ” Did that fig twig grow ?” . Panic peeked out and peered around the corners of his voice . He was a desperate man .
” The one you gave me a few years ago ? Yeah , it’s growing .”
” Can I get a cutting from you ? My father-in-law is coming to visit ,” he explained . ” I’ve been telling him for years that the darn fig is growing . ” But it wasn’t . It had withered away years before due to my friend Bob’s neglect . For years he had been describing how delicious the figs were over the phone to his father-in-law on Staten Island . Now Bob needed something to show his father-in-law or the bubble would be burst .
So Bob planted that cutting I gave him and told the in-law serious Staten Island gardener that this little plant was the same one from Staten Island . The ruse worked , I guess . Bob was forever grateful to me for the fig tree cutting .
I haven’t seen Bob for several years now . A mutual friend visited last night . She had seen Bob over Christmas . ” Does Dan still have that fig tree ?” he had asked her . She had watered our garden last summer when we were travelling and when he described the leaves of a fig she said , yes , there is a fig tree in his backyard . ” I would like to get a cutting ,” he told her . ” Do you think he could give me a cutting ?”
I guess gardener father-in-law is coming back for another visit . Sure , Bob can have another cutting . I hope the little trick works again, if that’s the situation . Or , maybe Bob has decided to take up gardening in his spare time since he retired last June . He’s an Italian from Staten Island , too , after all . That might be a good start for developing a green thumb . I don’t know . I don’t think that he has bricked in his yard yet , though .