SHER: ‘Kids Say the Darndest Things’

Ryan Joseph Abraham, 8, waters plants at New Roots Youth Garden. (Photo by Sher Horosko)

Ryan Joseph Abraham, 8, waters plants at New Roots Youth Garden. (Photo by Sher Horosko)

Cape Charles Wave

July 24, 2013

OK, this is the truth. In my whole life only two TV shows made me laugh so hard I doubled over: “Candid Camera” and Bill Cosby’s, “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” Those of you who have dipped into this column probably get that I take the world rather seriously. I have been a muser since the age of four (maybe earlier).

As a child, I thought I knew more than adults in key areas. As an adult, I am sure I was right about this. Kids know things we have forgotten or buried or had drummed out of us. They don’t get stuck on the thorns that constantly separate us from each other.

The world misses the essential goodness of kids. We believe morality is learned. I see this differently: I think we come into the world (most of us anyway) with great and good hearts.

So like eight year old Ryan in the photo, our job is to water the love just like he is watering the plants.

But jumping back to Bill Cosby —

Carl Brady, 11


I stroll into the bucolic white fenced area on the corner of Randolph and Fig. It is preposterously hot but it’s Thursday and it’s the day the New Roots Kids sell their vegetables. I’ve come, not to interview all the adults who have a vision for the garden and the kids, but the kids who have their own vision of what this is all about.

Im pretty good with kids.

So we sit at a picnic table in the shade of an old oak tree— the three of them across from me. I tell them about my little tape recorder, how well it works, how to just ignore it and hop into the conversation. (They could care less about the tape recorder).

I ask their names and get their full names (middle name included). I ask their ages, too. One holds up fingers. The other has to think about it. The other gets it right as soon as he opens his mouth.

So we have Emily, Ryan and Carl; Carl with a “C.”

OK, got through that part.

I ask them why they are doing the garden. I look at Carl. He’s the oldest so I think it would be good if he set the tone.

He says something like “I like the sizzzzz.”

I miss it entirely so I ask him to tell me again. It turns out he likes the science. I tell him I don’t know what he means by that and he looks at me like “Yo, you should know this (and I should, really) and he elaborates: “I mean how things grow with seeds, the sun and the soil.”

“So you’re intrigued about how things grow and live” I reflect back.


“How about you Ryan?”

He’s had time to get ready: “I like the hummingbirds,” he says.


“Yes, the hummingbirds. I like how they do figure-eights.”

“I see,” I reply struggling a little to get how hummingbirds and vegetables go together but I plod on. “So do you plant things to attract hummingbirds?”

He turns around and spies the garden. “Well, there is a butterfly garden near the fence.”

“Ahhhh. And what if you were planting things to attract hummingbirds? What would you plant?”

“Red flowers, of course.” he answers.

“Of course,” I reply.

Emily Marie Abraham does a little direct tomato marketing with Gloria Smith at Rayfield's.

Emily Marie Abraham does a little direct tomato marketing with Gloria Smith at Rayfield’s.

Emily is five. She is a bright little star, the kind of elf-spirit that glistens wherever she goes. “Emily, how about you. What do you like?”

“I love lunch” she says.


“Yes, lunch.”

I just go with it: “What is it about lunch you like so much?”

“Last week we got a Milky Way Bar.”

“I like Milky Way Bars,” I answer. “I can understand why you like lunch.”

Look, readers, I could tell you very thoughtful things about why six adults were sitting in the sweltering Virginia heat to teach and inspire these kids. I could do that. But this would turn into a story about them and how they see the world.

What interests me is how the kids see things, how they tick and what they may tell their own kids about the New Roots Garden one day.

Thing is, kids say the darndest things. To sum up our seven minute interview: science, hummingbirds and lunch…

There are a lot of really terrific people lifting these young folks up as high as they can.
And what they are doing together and why is another story in the hopper, but you’ll have to wait for that one.

Meanwhile, I am not a very proscriptive person but Im making an exception for this story:

Get yourselves over to the New Roots Garden at Fig and Randolph next to Rayfield’s Pharmacy on Thursday between 11:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. Buy some tomatoes and parsley and green peppers (Carl’s favorite).

These kids and their friends, planted the seeds, pulled the weeds out, carried the watering cans and kept them alive. If you need change back from your tomatoes, they’re the ones who will figure out what they owe you.

It’s all good.

And listen, when you’re there: ask Carl how plants grow. Get Ryan to tell you what he loves about hummingbirds.

And Emily, well, you can sneak a Milky Way right into her pocket and no one will ever know.

Sher HoroskoSher Horosko’s commentary is an occasional Wednesday feature of the Wave. A recent transplant to the Eastern Shore, Sher writes on nature and spirituality at



2 Responses to “SHER: ‘Kids Say the Darndest Things’”

  1. Bruce Lindeman on July 24th, 2013 6:42 am

    Thanks for sharing, Sher. I love this program and how it brings the community together. If we all spent more time nurturing our kids as they’re learning to nurture their garden, they’d grown up to be fruitful, loving, caring adults, we’d all be better off. Please support the NRYG, folks. It’s a great program…

  2. Bob Meyers on July 24th, 2013 9:03 am

    Ms. Horosko, a thanks for your literary and photographic contribution is grossly insufficient. You are like a bright star shining over the Eastern Shore!