This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Using his fingers to rake away ankle-high weeds on a plot next to his house, George Banks finally looks up with a smile after spotting something that a visitor doesn't immediately see.
"There," he says as he slowly straightens his stout body. "Watermelon vines. Got some collards coming up, too."
Whenever his arthritis, heart disease and diabetes cooperated last spring and summer, Banks, 63, spent time tending his garden in Old North St. Louis.