Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Garden

A long time ago, when I was a little girl, my grandma's yard was dirt. Not any old dirt but that sticky, white, gumbo clay that rez cars like to get stuck in.

Then when I was about 7 or 8 she decided to grow grass and plant trees. I would watch her tend to it and ask her anxiously when the trees would grow big so I can have a swing. She would laugh at me and say by the time they were that big, I would be too old to swing. I would be lucky to sit under thier shade at the age of 18.

Despite everyone telling her that gumbo can't grow grass, she still did it. She would proudly sit in her lawn, amongst her flowers and battle dandelions and clover. My uncles used to tease her that the front yard looked like a circus because of the lawn ornaments. One year she even had a windmill in the front yard.

As she grew older, she took less interest in her lawn, maybe it was too many takojas, maybe she grew tired with age and none of us noticed because she always seemed invincible. She would always talk of having a vegetable garden, though...someday, she would say. She wanted corn, tomatoes and the works. Basically everything to make her own salsa. She never planted that garden.
Instead, last spring, my Uncle Jerry planted a garden. It was almost the who;le side of his lawn. Boy, my Grandma was fired up.
Did you see your Uncle's garden? she would say as she did a drive by of his house. You just wait until fall, we will have a big cookout from just that garden. She would drive by and say "Look, just look, it's a bloomin'."
She was so proud of his garden and talked of making salsa from it all the time.
If you read me regularly, which I know I don't write as much or if you know me, then you know that my grandma passed away last July.
She never saw the fruits of my Uncle Jerry's labor or ate anything from that garden.
My uncle still made salsa and gave me a jar last fall. When I ate it, I imagined her saying it was the best salsa in the world. I pictured her letting tomatoes ripen on her windowsill from that garden, like I did.
He planted another garden this year. So did I, but mine is small and a salsa garden. this is his second year planting it, and this time without her.
She isn't here. But this is a story of life and how, no matter what, we move on, live, love, learn and grow with it.
Like a garden.