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Finding Homes for Potatoes


For this month’s These Ozarks Hills, KSMU’s Missy Shelton checks in with our series producer Marideth Sisco.

Shelton: I’m on the phone with our beloved Marideth Sisco who is out of commission. Marideth do you want to tell us where you are and how you got there?

Sisco: I’m at St. John’s up on the fifth floor but I’d rather be anywhere.

Shelton: I don’t blame you because we’re having some nice spring weather.

Sisco: That’s what I hear. I came in the first time more than a month ago and had surgery because they diagnosed me with uterine cancer. They got it all and I was recuperating. So it was fine and I decided to go ahead and have my garden plowed. I had a spot picked out, the only thing in it was a big tree stump. When the tractor came in to plow, there were roots everywhere. The fella couldn’t get enough steam to go fast enough to turn the dirt over. It’s just a mess. I was stuck in a situation where I couldn’t plant the way it was and I was trying to find someone with a tiller and then I woke up one morning with a high fever and discovered I had an abscess from the surgery and I’ve been in the hospital ever since.

Shelton: I’m so sorry to hear that but it sounds like you’re in good spirits and you’re ready to get back to your garden.

Sisco: Yes, I am. And actually other people have gotten back to my garden for me. This was the year I planned to plant a big patch of potatoes. I got a lot of fun varieties. I ordered 30 pounds of potatoes with no garden and me in the hospital! So my friends have been rushing around, calling people they know who have gardens asking, “Have you got a row? Have you got half a row?” I have no idea where my potatoes are but they’re all over town.

Shelton: So your friends have taken it upon themselves to find homes for your potatoes?

Sisco: Find homes for my potatoes, that’s right.

Shelton: What a great community story.

Sisco: It is. It’s a great community down there. West Plains is my adopted home. I came back to the Ozarks from California and went back towards my hometown and it wasn’t the same anymore. I went over to West Plains and found the Ozarks I left behind. The people are just so kind and generous. When they called me and said they were finding homes for my potatoes, I just about cried. You can ask people to take you to the doctor or bring you groceries but that’s a reach, to ask people to plant your potatoes.

Shelton: It makes me feel good to hear your friends and neighbors are stepping up in that way. And when you head back to West Plains, you’ll have a good reason to sit down with those friends to share a good meal.

Sisco: That’s right. I want to say that I never expected to be in the hospital for 2 weeks but I couldn’t have had any better care.