A gardening tale with a happy ending

The bedding plants all stood, stately, proud and only slightly wilted.

The bedding plants all stood, stately, proud and only slightly wilted.

“Let’s plant,” said the man in charge.

He was organized and ready. He was armed with the proper tools; a trowel, a shovel, good black dirt, and most importantly, knowledge.

We knew he knew stuff about planting; where, when and how, and we humbly accepted that.

We were here only to help, or at the very least, stay out of the way.

I stood on the front step, holding a soft, sweet baby in my arms, watching the man and his work crew.

Despite the work yet to be done, I felt good for no other reason than just because.

It was a soft evening in summer.

The sun was a pale yellow globe still visible over the stately Rocky Mountains, a few wispy white clouds were clothes pinned into a baby blue sky and, across the street in the playground, children’s laughter floated like silver notes on a carefree, gentle breeze heading nowhere in particular.

Supper was over and the kitchen was a jumble of unwashed dishes, cluttered counters and haphazardly stacked pots and pans.

No wonder I was happy. I was outside on the step, not inside in that dark and dreary place.

I, being the grandma, said I would stay inside and watch the children, of course, cleaning up the kitchen in the meantime, supervising play and just being generally overall, efficient, and, grandma-like while the adults planted the flowers.

It didn’t happen. The mom ignored my offer.

“Do you want to help plant?” she said to her little boys, who really had no knowledge about such things and had only just finished being rock stars, one strumming enthusiastically on a miniature guitar and the other banging on a tiny drum set.

“What!” I thought, silently to myself. “Doesn’t she realize planting is an adult thing? We (actually, the man in charge) have to get the flowers placed just right. And I have to get the dishes done and get the children in their pajamas and make sure they brush their teeth.”

Apparently, she didn’t know that.

And because she didn’t, or, if she did, chose not to make that knowledge a priority, I have to say thank you.

Thanks for being a mom wise enough to know dishes and rules and bedtime can wait, but childhood can’t. And, thanks for reminding me, who sometimes finds myself being an old school grandma, that planting seeds and nurturing them accordingly is not always about flowers.

And so it came to be another generation was added to the planting crew, bringing with them their laughter, their innocence and their absolute delight in all God’s creatures, great and small.

“Andrea,” said my grandson, incredulously. “Look at that worm,” as he carried a shovel full of dirt containing the wiggly creature over to his new-found friend.

She, being a smart lady, admired the worm appropriately, before it was patted carefully back into the black earth with instructions given to the man in charge not to plant over it.

The boys got in the way and out of the way. Mostly they did what boys do best. They spread the dirt around; on the sidewalk, their faces, their hands and their hair.

I sat the baby down on the silky green grass and shared smiles with him for a while, before his mom carted him off to the playground.

The sun dipped lower and the hush of evening signaled the end of another day.

And, surprisingly, in spite of the interruptions and the best laid plans which got all mixed up and didn’t happen, the bedding plants got planted just like they were supposed to.

It was good. It was better than good. It was great!

— On The Other Side