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Crisp and delicious time

THIS lovely spring weather has tempted the Partons to bring the rack of seed packages from the back room and put it in the front of the store - in front of the galoshes, the needles and thread, the tools, the canned goods, the bread and the cookies. As the sign says, they are ''dealers in almost everything.''

When I entered the store this morning customers were standing before the seed-rack, gazing at pictures of big bright radishes, bouquets of lettuce, bunches of beets and carrots, pea vines climbing a garden fence, marigolds, squash blossoms turning into golden globes. The squash transformation will take a while, but radishes and lettuce are quick to respond. I exchange silver for two little packets that promise a great deal. I take my mail, a bottle of milk, and leave.

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Headlines in today's paper are the same as yesterday's; there are no letters from the children; the advertisements are not tempting - but - I open the packet of radish seed and pour some into my hand. It can't be possible that these tiny brown things will become stems and green leaves. And when I pull the leaves gently, radishes, almost as perfect as the pictures, will appear.

The little round seeds run down the furrows of my hand, back into the pictured package. I go to the telephone and ask Arnie to come with his plow and harrow. I want to start my garden right away.

''It's too early,'' he tells me. ''I'll come as soon as the ground can be worked.''

I go back to the packets of seeds. The lettuce seeds don't roll off my hand, but they are so light they would blow away if I were to breathe near them. These pale elongated specks will emerge as plants ''in 10 to 20 days depending on soil and weather.'' They will become bounding heads of Iceberg Lettuce, ''crisp and delicious,'' the package promises.

The red-winged blackbirds have come, the robins will soon be here, but the little green seedlings will have to wait until the ground ''can be worked.'' Hurry, Spring.

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