A post on Facebook reminded me of the time when DEA agents doing a fly-over spotted my Dad's flourishing garden in a clearing several hundred yards down from his house. They landed and plotted the coordinates to Dad's garden, stopping in town to ask directions to the "Demps England place." Of course, they were wearing the signature blue jackets with DEA emblazoned across the back (DEA, by the way, as in Drug Enforcement Agency).
Word gets around quickly in a small Arkansas town in hill country. Of course, Dad heard within minutes that DEA agents were on their way to his house; and he set out for his home, which was located on a gravel lane off of a gravel county road. He arrived in time to see them setting fire to a huge pile of uprooted tomato and okra plants, the plants he had carefully planted, fertilized, staked, and tended in the spot he had cleared by hand. Surrounded by trees, the garden received full sun only part of the day; and located in a low spot, it received maximum moisture during the dog days of summer.
It still bothers me that Dad neither sought or received any compensation for the incident. No apology was ever issued, and no tomatoes or okra were harvested from Dad's fabulous garden that year.
At least they didn't arrest Dad when he loudly, and maybe profanely, protested that they had pulled up waist-high tomato plants in full bloom and head high okra plants starting to set! Dad's coffee shop buddies did not soon forget that his garden was once raided by DEA agents! "Hey, Demps, someone's looking for you," became a familiar taunt followed by gales of laughter. The ever-present jokes helped salvage his reputation, which could have been damaged by having the DEA ask questions around town.
The rest of the story is that Dad had been the town police judge decades earlier in the small Missouri town in which I grew up, had been the "town cop" in a neighboring Arkansas town, and was currently an auxiliary county police officer. "The judge" was probably among the least likely of people who would have grown marijuana! His secret formula of sawdust and chicken manure mixed in with well-plowed soil would probably work on that crop, though, much like it did on tomato plants, okra plants, and white and red radishes (that ended up looking more like white carrots and red beets than like radishes). I guess his lush, overgrown, well-staked plants were simply not recognizable to the over-zealous DEA agents that day.