Work On The Positives


Steve Nauman

When I was about 6 or 7 years old, I remember helping my great grandfather in his vegetable garden one day. He was born in 1880, so he would have been in his early 80’s at that time. I can remember we were planting his sweet corn—because I had “caught” his fertilizer in the river! Grandpa Verne planted sweet corn in hills—not rows, each small mound of soil would have 5 seeds of corn, with the mounds being about 2 feet apart in all directions. But….. buried several inches underneath those mounds were ‘Carp’—10”-12” fish that I had caught in the river. Grandpa said they would provide all the nutrients the corn would need as the plants grew and the ears developed.

Maybe his ‘old time’ method was a good one, because I do remember that he harvested some really nice sweet corn—and a lot of it—from a relatively small plot!
One detail though that I should have watched more closely….. and that was how deep to bury those fish! Because….. when I had my own place here in Indiana, I once tried Grandpa Verne’s method of growing sweet corn….. I didn’t experiment with a big plot, I only had about 15 hills or mounds of sweet corn. I had easy access to catch Carp out of the river here, and I buried one under each “mound” of seeds….. The next morning, the part of my garden that had been the “sweet corn mound experiment”, looked like some kind of war games had taken place during the night!

I don’t know if it was a raccoon or other animal, but something had dug-up and eaten all the dead fish from under those mounds!

I never tried it again…..

Grandpa Verne said something that day while we were working in his garden, but it didn’t have anything to do with corn or fish, or even growing anything at all. In fact, at the time, I didn’t really know what he was talking about….. because I was so young…… But, he told me that as I go through life, the negatives will always take care of themselves, so I’ll have to Work On The Positives…..

At the time, the only thing I thought of in relation to positive and negative was the positive and negative terminal or ’end’ of a battery.
Of course, as we grow older and more mature, we soon realize that ‘life’ will often place us in negative situations, or at times, around others who always seem to be negative….. I think that’s what Grandpa meant when he told me to Work On The Positives.

Maybe some other ways we can work on the positives can be found in the following two verses:
”If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”   Romans 12:7-8 (NLT)

Thanks Grandpa Verne, I’m still tryin!

Till Next Time…..

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Steve Nauman

These wonderful posts are written by my good friend Steve Nauman. He lives on a farm in northern Indiana with his wife, Ruth.

He owned and operated a machine shop until 2020. These stories come from the people and experiences that made lasting impressions upon him as he grew up in his father's general store in Upstate NY and later in his own business.