The Garden

Earth gets dry in summertime; spring still moist from winter’s hangover; he’d kill for some rain. Prayed to the Lord above everyday for rain; wanted to watch his garden grow; yearned for a tomato, a fresh Hungarian wax pepper, something crisp he could bite into. His carrots weren’t looking that good either.

The old man became obsessed with his garden. He’d water it with city water when he could afford it. All decked out in blue jeans and mud boots, the gray haired gentleman would walk his fifty foot hose out to the garden and let the water do it’s magic; peas were coming in and so were cucumbers. But, more than anything, weeds were growing and he couldn’t bend down to get em at the roots. They’d snap off in his hands.

Years ago his children pulled up the weeds and helped tend the garden. His youngest, Cindy, would spend hours out there everyday while the older boy, Bobby, would pull up just a few weeds then take off on hot summer days to chase baseballs or girls; he was pretty good at both.

But, that was a long time ago. Things happened, life happened. Bobby took off and quit high school. Left home one night and never came back. Some say they seen him over in the next county drinking at a honky tonk while others tell a story of a soul that’s done passed. Saying he died out in Caifornia; living on the streets; begging for money.

Cindy, the girl, she never came around either. Called the old man from time to time just to check in, but, she had a family of her own she was raising. Her husband, Carl went and got killed over in Iraq. Or, was it Afghanistan. The old man couldn’t remember anymore. Just couldn’t.

He tended his garden as best be could. Always out there singing to himself half songs and choruses. The words would come to him every once in a while. He’d pick a green bean off the vine and chew on it while he tried to remember the woman who was his wife for all those years. She did all the canning in the fall. What was her name?, he’d mumble. What was her name?, he’d munch on a leaf of lettuce. Oh well, he said. It don’t matter. Then he’d spy a red cherry tomato bursting in the summer sun. And all was right with the world.

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