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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Garden (09/07/06)

TITLE: Movin' on to Greener Pastures
By Joanne Malley


Moviní On to Greener Pastures

As someone who has no business near plant seeds or foliage of any kind Ė mark my words - there will come a day Iíll grow a healthy garden.

SoÖfor argumentís sake, letís forget the numerous counts of manslaughter against me regarding my houseplants and weíll simply just write it off as a bad year.

Branded a murderer, itís hard to shake my past. Without as much as a murmur, my two brown thumbs speak volumes on behalf of my limp ferns.

With my history, itís no shock Iím the only one in my office without a plant. Not because I donít like them, mind you Ė itís just that Iíve always been better at feeding myself. The proofís in the fact that just yesterday my purple violet bit the dust and joined last monthís progress report in the trash - bless his shriveled petals.

Anyway, when our office held a holiday grab bag, I was tickled pink when my co-worker, Sasha, pulled my name. She evokes such style and finesse. I strutted around like the catís meow when word escaped she picked me. For sure, Iíd receive a choice gift. I couldnít have been happier if Iíd gotten back into my size six jeans.

Could you just imagine my elation when I discovered a Chia Pet under the wrapping? After my excitement waned and I stopped doing cartwheels, I politely reminded Sasha that we were celebrating Christmas, not April Foolís day.

It didnít take much to realize she was one of those clueless types, but I didnít have the heart to tell her a Chia Pet doesnít actually qualify as a present. Iím convinced sheís the only person unaware that itís categorized as an ďI-didnít-know-what-else-to-get-youĒ gift.

Thankfully, thoughts of my motherís refined etiquette quelled my burning urge to toss my gift in the holiday donation bin. Since I was bred with good manners, I made sure that when I grimaced and winced over what I received, it was behind Sashaís back.

While a few workers in the corner counted their lucky stars that they werenít me, I nonchalantly glanced at my watch to determine if I had time to return the hideous thing. If I didnít make it back for cake and coffee, I could at least rest in the fact that I know how to prioritize my important tasks at hand.

After a few moments, I grappled with an insane idea. I contemplated keeping the Chia head that grew sprouts. I decided to give Sasha the benefit of the doubt and considered her gift selection to be, at best, an education and a chance at redemption.

I thought there was an exact science to a windowsill garden, but according to the directions, I just needed to spread some seeds on the bald, clay head and water it. I looked forward to this opportunity to clear my name and prove myself a competent gardener.

To my surprise, one month later, Charles the Chia head survived. I was ecstatic I had moved on to greener pastures! With a notch now on my gardening belt, it was time tempt fate and nurture innocent fruits and vegetables in my yard. No longer would they need to hide behind the fear of death while under my care. More importantly, my thumbs would have the chance to rinse themselves clean of the color brown.

I was smart enough to know that nurturing a full-fledged garden would entail much more than caring for my garden pet, Charlie. Plenty of sunshine, the right soil conditions and strength to toil rigorously in the garden would be necessary for the fruits of my labor to sprout and take root.

Granted, it would be a time consuming task to keep the weeds and devious leaf-eating bugs at bay, but with the right deterrents, fertilizers, and water, my garden would flourish properly.

As I thought of my new, green friend Charles, I realized there have been times Iíve done only half of whatís required to fertilize my Christian life. Sure, Iíve collected and planted plenty of seeds, but sometimes Iíve forgotten the watering process. Whenever I cough up dust and dirt particles, itís a clear indicator that my moisture levelís low and itís time to water.

The next time I see Sasha, Iíll thank her again for her impeccable taste in gifts.

And, when April Foolís Day approaches, sheíll have an opportunity to say the same to me when I do the thoughtful, gracious thing and re-gift Charlie.

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This article has been read 1383 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 09/14/06
The Chia pet on my laptop dies for lack of attention - I'd hate to think what a real one might suffer. This is great stuff!
Val Clark09/16/06
Neat story that connects well with the devotional. yeggy
Ruth Neilson09/17/06
"Branded a murderer, itís hard to shake my past. Without as much as a murmur, my two brown thumbs speak volumes on behalf of my limp ferns."

I loved that line. I agree so much with you about having 'brown' thumbs instead of green ones. I also agree with veggy that it does tie in nicely with a devotional. Great job--keep on writing.
Marilyn Schnepp 09/18/06
Quite a difference between manslaughter and plantslaughter; however, the story was light and a pleasant read. Thanks for sharing.
Lynda Lee Schab 09/19/06
Ah, JoJo, you always make me laugh - even at 5:24 in the morning! I almost went this route myself this week with my entry - your character sounds a lot like me - Ugh! I can't even keep an artificial plant alive! Thanks for the chuckle - and the devotional tie-in at the end. Great work!
Ann Grover09/19/06
The devotional tie was so subtle, I wasn't even aware it had happened. Well done... humorous and thought-provoking. Well written.
Donna Powers 09/19/06
Very nice! Loved the humor here. It is an enjoyable story.
Jan Ackerson 09/19/06
So funny, and I love the kicker! "Re-gifting" cracks me up!
Joanne Sher 09/19/06
Such fun! Loved beginning, the end, and the laughs in between! So many favorite lines!!
Amy Michelle Wiley 09/19/06
Such a fun story! I felt a little cognitive dissonance with Sasha being described both as stylish and a "clueless type", but otherwise a great article!
Beth Muehlhausen09/19/06
Awwwww, I can just see Charlie! Glad he rated better than the violet (poor thing): "...just yesterday my purple violet bit the dust and joined last monthís progress report in the trash - bless his shriveled petals."
Enjoyable/light but with a good point. :-)

Melanie Kerr 09/20/06
Our cultural references are obviously different as I have no idea what a Chia Pet is. I am assuming it is a houseplant? I appreciated the humour you injected into the article.
Allison Egley 09/21/06
"...bless his shriveled petals." Hehe. I loved that line. I also almost went this route, but you wrote it much better than I could have. I must say, at first, I thought this would result in the demise of the poor Chia head.