Posted in GARDENING, Southernisms

A Memory Garden

Dear Mr. Garden Guy,

Do you remember the day I had to hide Momma’s yard tools?

A few years earlier we had finally convinced my then 84 year old mother to stop cutting her own grass. “Convinced” is a nice way of saying my brother took her push mower away for servicing and never brought it back.  Over the next couple of years, I took over her yardwork.   Momma, not satisfied with my loose interpretation of hedge trimming would redo her bushes wielding the most dangerous looking pair of clippers you ever want to see in the hands of an unsteady octogenarian.

Thoughts of a horrid implement haunted family, friends and neighbors.

fi-clippers
Freeimages.com/garden clippers

So I hid her tools.  An assortment of handheld clippers, hoes and rakes made their way to my house.  I told you about it Mr. Garden Guy.  We both felt sad that an avid gardener could no longer enjoy her work.

Then one day her neighbor pulled me to the side:

“Yo momma been outside cuttin’ them bushes again.”  She said in a concerned whisper.

“What?!  Bbbut I..I… took all her tools!”  I stammered in disbelief.

“Well she was.  An’ she had a pair of long, rusty lookin’ clippers.  I think they must have been yo daddy’s.”  The neighbor’s testimony rang true.

My stepdad had been dead for decades.  It never occurred to me that some of

fi-nate-brelsford
Freeimages.com/Nate Brelsford

Richard’s tools may still be around.  Momma never threw away anything.

It took me a while but finally – on the backporch, under the chaise, in a crate, inside a wooden box – a plethora of ancient handtools.  Found and removed.

Miss. Daisy was not pleased.

Today, age is beginning to slow me down.  One day someone will take away my tools.  And Mr. Garden Guy I’ll miss growing my veggies, canning my pears and cutting my grass.

Foreseeing such a time,  I’ve begun a “memory garden” afghan.

Rows of simple granny squares echo my gardening process.  Starting with brown and black squares symbolizing the composted soil. Then seed.  More colorful squares – reds, yellows, greens and even purples- flowering and fruiting.

The afghan’s rows repeat like the rhythm of the seasons. Its an ongoing project.  Finished only when it is big enough, warm enough to hold all my cherished gardening memories.

Vegetables Credit: Freeimages.com/Michael & Christa Richert
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Author:

Hi! I'm Denise Massey - the funny face behind ArtReach at Home. My past: museum curator, art teacher and consultant. Today: a blogger sharing creativity and personal stories about life in the South.

4 thoughts on “A Memory Garden

  1. What a wonderful idea! An afghan reflecting your garden and the magic therein! Maybe you could find your Momma a pair of plastic scissors. Something harmless yet practical. She so wants to be the woman she was — and it seems gardening was a big part of that. Or give her a task that doesn’t involve tools. Keep her in the game. It will keep you — and your heart — in the game, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Claudia! I glad you enjoyed the post. Sadly Momma has since passed away. Please read my post Goodbye Momma. I Love You. I’ll See You Later under the Family Lore category.

      Eventually I did begin bringing over an extra pair of safer shears for Momma to use when I did her yardwork. We worked side by side when she had the energy. She tolerated this “partnership” for a little while. Mostly though she would sit in the shade with a cold drink, overseeing my work – evidently making mental notes on what needed fixing. Days later, small pieces of clipped leaves could be found littering the ground. I suspect Momma had your scissors idea well in hand!

      Liked by 1 person

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