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A Lesson From The Garden - part 2 of 2

Category: Short Stories | Posted: Fri May 09, 2014 9:55 am

He found it about a month before, one little leaf poking out of the ground at the end of the bean row. He started to pull it up, but it looked like a squash plant, so he left it where it was. He checked it almost daily and the little plant seemed to take on a life of its own. Before long it had put out large green leaves and Preston decided that it was a pumpkin. Then, it started branching out with long, wispy tendrils that reached out and took hold of the fence. One day he looked in on it and a beautiful white flower had opened up. There, attached to the flower, was a small green fruit shaped like an hourglass. He knew then what it was; it was a gourd.

Disappointed, he thought about pulling it up. It was, after all, in the bean row, but he couldn't bring himself to do it because he enjoyed watching it too much. So, he left it where it was and every day since then he had rushed out to the garden to check on it. He spent a lot of time manipulating the vines so they would grow up the fence and it had practically covered every square inch of it. He was amazed how something that started out so small could grow so quickly.

Preston was still admiring the gourd plant when he felt something brush against his leg. He looked down and saw Misty. Her small hands were holding onto the chain link gate and her face was pressed up against it so that one eye was staring through a rusty link. She only said five words, "I like your garden Daddy," and then she looked up at him and smiled. Then, as quickly as she was there, she was gone.

Preston watched her skip away and a disturbing thought crossed his mind. Misty was, in fact, just like his precious gourd plant. The plant came up unexpectedly; so did Misty. The plant showed up in the wrong row; Misty showed up in the wrong part of his life. He was disappointed when he found out what the plant really was; he was disappointed when he found out his wife was pregnant with Misty. His heart melted as he thought about Misty. Was he treating this gourd plant better than he was treating his own daughter? How much time had he actually spent with her? How often had he really listened to what she had to say? Was it possible that he was holding a grudge against her for coming along so late in his life? Was he actually blaming her for some of his marital and financial problems? The more he meditated on it the more he shamefully realized that it was all true.

He thought a moment and then looked back toward the flowing plant at the end of the garden. He had been so wrong about that plant. In a matter of weeks, with a little care and nurturing it had become the centerpiece of his garden. What if he would have pulled it up when it was just coming out of the ground? He would have never gotten to watch it grow or see it bloom. He would have missed out on so much.

What was he missing out on with Misty by acting the way he was? What would happen if he spent some quality time nurturing and caring for her? A sound shook him out of his thoughts and he turned to see Misty running across the yard with her arms held straight out to the side of her body. She turned and waved, "Come play with me Daddy."

Preston looked at his garden, then back at Misty. He could almost hear the gourd plant silently pleading with him to step inside the gate. There was a moment of indecision. Then, somewhere in the back of his mind a distant voice spoke to him, "Go play with her."

He spoke out loud, in answer to the voice, "But what about the garden?"

He was still thinking about it when Misty called out to him again, "Come on Daddy, play with me. Please?"

She stopped right in front of him, arms still extended, making bubbly airplane noises. Then, she stepped forward, wrapped her arms around his legs and said, "I love it when we play together Daddy."

Suddenly, the garden didn't look so enticing. With a slight tremor in his voice he said, "So do I Honey. So do I."

And this time... he really meant it.

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eileen wrote on Fri May 09, 2014 10:44 am:

What a really beautiful story!I found I had tears in my eyes at the end.
Thank you for posting it for us an I hope it's just the first of many.

Donna S wrote on Fri May 09, 2014 10:54 am:

Thanks. I love a heart felt story. More please.


Green Fingers wrote on Mon May 12, 2014 7:46 pm:

Love the way it ends, a touching story.


Frank wrote on Thu May 15, 2014 4:53 pm:

This reminds me of a short story I would have read in Reader's Digest many moons ago. I thought it was excellent EG! Wish I could write so clear headed and creative as you.

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