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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Spring (the season) (07/23/09)

TITLE: The Honor Garden
By Glynis Becker


Exactly when are we going to have our dining room table back? Tom asked me, moving aside one stack of seed catalogs, so he could set down his coffee.

When I have decided that I am finished using it, I teased, sticking out my tongue. And how come all of a sudden its our table? Thirty-five years and youve never once cleaned it off or polished it. Ill give it back when Im done. I laughed. Tom got up to stand behind me. He leaned over and pecked my cheek, giving my shoulders a little squeeze.

I know. This is important to you. But just know that Ill be glad when you can plant these things, so I have somewhere to eat my steak. I almost sent the flour canister into the trash can last night, trying to eat cut my meat standing at the island in the kitchen. Im ready for a proper sit-down meal! He shook his head, grabbed his mug and went in the other room.

He left me with my catalogs and my seedlings. I had turned the entire dining room, including the table, side buffet and several card tables Id snagged from other rooms in the house, into a greenhouse. All winter Id poured over the catalogs, making notes, drawing diagrams, researching, scouring the Internet for everything I could find about growing flowers and vegetables.

Mama had always known exactly what went where in the yard, when it needed to be planted, how much food and water and sunlight to make it grow. But she was gone and I knew I had to do this for her. No, scratch that--this was for me.

Shed only taken sick at the end of last summer. And by New Years she was gone. The winter had vanished in a solemn blur. Im sure the girls had come back for Christmas. I know Id played with the grandchildren, read stories, gone to church. But it never felt real. I felt like my own shadow, dark and visible, but without any substance.

I couldnt even pray. What was I supposed to say? God, I know that everybody dies, but why did you take my mama so soon? Why didnt you make me ready for it? Why didnt you heal her? I wasnt angry, really, just disappointed that my faith was so small I couldnt find the joy Id always thought Id have when the time came.

But then the seed catalog showed up in the mail. It was addressed to Mama and I almost threw it out, when something made me thumb through it. An idea came to me and as I perused the glossy photos of all the things I could grow, I started to feel excited. Thats when the long nights on the computer and massive checkouts of library books began. I knew Id gone overboard when Tom listened, glassy-eyed, to the fifteenth conversation that started with, So I was thinking about our soils pH levels but I was sure I was on to something.

Mama had always wanted to share her love of gardening with me, but Id had no interest. Except when it came to all the benefits: fresh tomatoes, homemade pickles, bouquets of my very favorite flowers, I was all over that. But this year, since I had no mama to do it for me, Id decided to plant my own garden for her instead.

So here I sit in my makeshift greenhouse where every day I putter, adjusting lights, checking the soil and water levels to be sure that these plants will say everything that I want my mama to hear. And I know that with Gods help when the spring comes, Ill be ready for it, in my garden and in my heart.

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This article has been read 836 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Robyn Burke07/31/09
very nice. a fitting tribute to your mom. good writing.
Dorothy Adamek08/03/09
I loved it that the seed catalogue arrived in the mail - A clever 'light bulb' moment. (No pun intended with 'bulb' there!)
I felt the touch and legacy of Mama, continue on and as someone who also gets excited at the sight of any gardening magazine, I really enjoyed your story. Thank you.
Eliza Evans 08/03/09
Just wonderful, Glynis!
Real feeling.

I got a catch in my throat on this line "to be sure that these plants will say everything that I want my mama to hear."

Love the way you wrote Tom, too.

Great job. :)
Virgil Youngblood 08/03/09
Well writen. Good job.
Jeanne E Webster 08/03/09
I needed this! Brought my gramma back for a while. She was an angel, you know...
Mariane Holbrook 08/03/09
If this isn't a winner, I'll eat my hat! I love tributes like this and it touched some very tender chords in my own heart. You write effortlessly but beautifully. I loved your entry!
Joy Faire Stewart08/04/09
I was touched by this beautifully written story. And love the title, too. Excellent!
Bryan Ridenour08/04/09
Wonderful tribute to mother...Fantastic writing! Well Done!
Seema Bagai 08/06/09
I enjoyed this piece. Recently, I attended a funeral and the family passed out packets of seeds for us to plant something in their loved one's memory. Good work.
Noel Mitaxa 11/18/09
I like the way you've linked a couple's natural interaction with reflections on pain and the hope in Christ that does not disappoint us. Well done.