Walking away is not an option... dialogue must prevail.

"A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with."
- Kenneth A. Wells

"I do not want the peace that passeth understanding. I want the understanding which bringeth peace."
- Helen Keller

Thursday, March 27, 2008

with love and patience, it will grow

I was visiting Charles at The Razored Zen and this idea for a post hit me. Thank you Charles.

His description of the flowers blooming in his lovely corner of Louisiana brought back a most cherished memory, several of them actually.

My father loved to garden. He probably would still be doing it if his eyesight wasn't so bad. Dad has macular degeneration. It's a cruel disease that gradually robs you of your sight. He stuck with gardening a long time even though he couldn't see the finished product...

This is Dad with his buddy Walter (who passed about 10 years ago, wow... that long) planting flats in Walter's front yard

Mom and I always bought Dad flowers for his birthday (in May) and for Father's day.
Not cut flowers. Flats of flowers... and he would then plant them in the garden at the front of the house. Remember that cute picture of me about to head off to school for the first time? Dad's flowers are behind me.

The last years he planted some, he would have me tell him what kind and colour the flowers were in each flat and then he would arrange the flats side by side in the order he wanted them planted.

Not so I would do it... nope! He was going to do it himself (it sounded like my girl when she gets her mind on accomplishing some new and previously unrealized feat).

Dad supervising as Chicklet tries her hand at watering houseplants

Then with his hands (which seemed so big to me when I was a child), he would delicately feel his way around each plant and gently break them free... one at a time. He had patience. Frankly, he needed patience with me and Mom in the house.

He would start out early in the day, and my father never stopped until he was done. He had perseverance and an amazing work ethic. And I loved it when he would lift me up in his arms at the end of the day, and I could smell the earth, the sun and hard work on him.

In the backyard, he had a veggie garden... carrots, big juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, leafy curly lettuce (which I didn't like because it just "tasted green"), and whatever he wanted to try out that year.
Mmmm Juicy!

I remember the smell that lingers on your fingers when you pick a tomato under the bright sun. The burst of flavour as you sink your teeth into that tomato and the feel of sweet juices as they dribble down your chin.

He instilled in me a love of the earth, of it's smell. Of how it feels to have dirt under your nails and a drop of sweat that tickles you as it slowly meanders down the side of your face, onto your neck where it comes to rest on the cotton of your t-shirt.

I can't wait to start that garden again... now if only the snow would melt.

My turn to be patient... I'm trying Dad!

"The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it,
but what they become by it."

-- John Ruskin


Turnbaby said...

Mmmmmm what a lovely touch of spring.

Anndi said...

Turnbaby: I'm looking forward to the green things and the blossoms... I miss the daffodils of Alabama *sigh*

Starrlight said...

There are few things that make me happier than planting flowers. I love them =)

TK Kerouac said...

just noticing you are from Montreal, I was born in Lasalle, Quebec, nice blog!

Anndi said...

starrlight: The planting, the earth, the sun... and the smells. yup!

Jeff B said...

What a great guy your dad. Beautiful post today.

Gail said...

Love gardening...I am hoping that I'll be able to find a place that has a nice balcony so I can have a bunch of pots out there...

Anndi said...

Jeff: That he is... and do you know, after I finished writing this I was reminded of your post about your Dad teaching you an your brothers how to paint... :)

Gail: If that's what you want, that's what you'll get. Set your mind to it babe, you can accomplish anything.

buffalodickdy said...

I'm always amazed at people who love to garden... It is not what I like, or do- but the fruits of their labor sure is fun to cook! I guess we all get a calling...

Anndi said...

tk kerouac: Nice to meet you! Small world! Thanks!

buff: Either you really enjoy gardening, or you really don't.
A lot of it has to do with watching nature do it's thing.. you should see it, me trying to control what the garden looks like and it doing it's own thing despite my best efforts... it's humbling really.

Desert Songbird said...

Beautiful memories, Anndi, and wonderful retelling. Almost made me think they were mine!

Leighann said...

Great post today darling. My grandmother loved to garden, I remember a time when almost her entire backyard was one big garden.

It got smaller and smaller over the years and the year she decided not to plant anything, I stopped looking out there.

Bond said...

excellent post...hope you are feeling better

it was 75 here yesterday...

HEY...just saying

Anndi said...

Songbird: Thank you... I'm glad you could feel the sun on your face.

Leighann: a very big portion of my grandparents yard was also a garden... smooch

Bond: thank you.. slowly, yes.
You hateful, hateful man!

Akelamalu said...

What lovely memories. My Dad loves to garden too. He hasn't been able for a long time but since he had his hip replacement op in November he getting back to it. Marvelous isn't it? :)

Anndi said...

akelamalu: Yay for your Dad! :)

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful post! I have plants inside but I want to try my hand at gardening one time in my life. As soon as I get my own house I will have flats of flowers like you dad..

I love riding past peoples houses looking at the "Curb appeal" I know I would have loved your dads also!!

Have a great weekend!!!


Meribah said...

Mmmm, I can almost feel the warmth of the sun on my face and the feel of the earth between my paws! :)

CrystalChick said...

Beautiful memories!
Hubby has a garden every year and it's soooo close now I can't wait until he starts planting. Jersey tomatoes come at the end of the season but are amazing and worth the wait. We eat them for weeks... just plain tomato sandwiches! And I made stewed tomatoes and homemade spaghetti sauce... ooh, I'm hungry now! LOL
Have a nice weekend.
I'm adding you to my blogger list, hope that okay!? Peace, Mary

Anndi said...

single: I don't do as well with indoor plants, but outdoors I hold my own. Maybe it's because Mother nature is around to help me ;)

Enjoy your weekend out and about in the big city!

Meri: Now you stop digging holes in my garden right this instant!! LOL

Crystalchick: The whole summer, I'd go onto the garden and check on the tomatoes and the carrots... I still remember the first bite... YUM!

There's nothing like a tomatoe sammich.

Enjoy your weekend sweetie.

I'll be adding you too, hugs!

Real Live Lesbian said...

Great post! I love that tomato viney smell...thanks for bringing it back@

doggybloggy said...

I wish I could garden....I have window boxes that I make the best of every year...

Anndi said...

RLL: It's one of my favourite smells!

DB: I can imagine the delectable things you must grow...

Dana said...

Wow...you've inspired me some!

barbara said...

Hello Anndi,
You have really struck a sensitive cord in me...
My father-in-law, André is also with Macular degeneration. It has been progressive, since about the last 5-6 years.
He did "too much,too late", never seeing the Opthomologist, and when he did, 2 doctors told him the same verdict; irreversable. One of his retinas is used and cannot be operated on.

You know how this touches everyday life and how simple tasks are sometimes enormous mountains.I have to do some jobs because they are too intricate for him;

I'am wishing you & your family lots of courage. Does your Dad have the chance to be operated on?

I know how much this takes away his joy of gardening.A great part of the "reward" of gardening is the beauty of what one plants.

Take care of him and of yourselves.

Gros bisous.