Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Old Tin Can and the Little Gardener

The old tin can is back on the small table by the front door full of little garden gourds and other garden remnants found underneath weeds and overgrown plants with sprawling vines. As Christmas nears, the old tin can will hold gingerbread men fresh from the oven; some still steaked with flour and all without decorations or faces. They will remain in the old tin can through February.

Many of those little garden gourds and other garden remnants were discovered by a six-year-old. Most every time he visited this past summer, he’d run out the back door to the garden to see what had grown since his last visit. One day he cleared a space between the carrots and zucchini and asked if he could plant something in his little garden. I found some leftover beet seeds in the garage. He was thrilled. Watching how gently he patted soil over the seeds, it was obvious he’d not only inherited the fishing gene, he’d inherited the gardening gene as well. When he was satisfied that the beet seeds were covered, he found rocks of all sizes and placed them around his little garden. Before he went back home, the little gardener asked me to water his beets whenever I watered the carrots and zucchini and the rest of the garden. I did as he requested but sadly deer would come along and step on them. I never told him. I’d salvage what little fledgling beets I could.

The small area designated by a circle of rocks between the carrots and zucchini never did produce beets of any size but the little gardener didn’t care. He was satisfied with the few sprouts that somehow survived the mighty hoofs of passing deer and the fact they were planted late in the season. That little gardener was proud of his sprouts. He’d sit beside them while digging for carrots, first with a small shovel and then, using his fingers, he’d dig around the carrot and pull. Sometimes the carrot would break in half but that didn’t stop him. He’d keep digging until he retrieved the entire carrot. When he felt he had enough carrots, he looked for zucchini hiding underneath oversized leaves resembling elephant ears when flapping in the breeze.

Even at such a young age, the little gardener understands it’s not really all about the produce plants bring forth. Rather, it’s about the process. It’s about the sun and the summer breeze and the rain and the bunnies hopping by and the weeds that need tending.

It’s about elephant-sized zucchini leaves flowing in the breeze, flapping with laughter, protecting fledgling little beet sprouts planted by a mighty proud little gardener and protected by rocks of all sizes.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Paper Dolls Kept in a Shoebox

I loved paper dolls. I had a shoebox full of them. I kept the shoebox in the bottom drawer of an old dresser in my bedroom. Sometimes I'd sit on the floor and play out scenarios with them. I named each one of them.They were like little friends to me. None were licensed characters. None came with sparkly outfits. They were just paper dolls. And that was all I needed. Most of my paper dolls came from Newberry's or Woolworths. It was always fun when shopping for paper dolls. Of course, Santa Claus made sure to bring me even more.

It was exciting when deciding which outfit each of my paper dolls would be wearing. Sometimes they'd have to change more than once during a scenario depending on what they were doing. They always had lots of fun whether going to the beach or school, on a picnic or visiting friends or taking care of their puppies or kittens. Whatever they were doing, they were fashionably dressed for the occasion.

One evening, like many other evenings, I had my paper dolls in bed with me. We were having a great time until I fell asleep. When I woke up the next morning, I was horrified to find scraps of paper everywhere. Many of the paper doll outfits with their paper tabs used to fold around the paper doll were destroyed. Some of the tabs had ripped right off.  Some of the paper dolls were bent or missing limbs. I taped some of the missing parts and ripped outfits. I was able to salvage some but not all. I didn't throw any of them away. I couldn't. I didn't care if they were injured. They were still my friends.

I did get more paper dolls. I kept them in a different shoebox on top of my dresser. That other shoebox with the injured paper dolls and ripped outfits remained in the bottom drawer from then on. I didn't play scenarios with them. But I did take them out and check on them once in awhile.

I don't know whatever happened to those two treasured shoeboxes. We moved to the country and I never saw them again. But I never forgot them. You don't forget little things that bring you joy-simple, quiet joy when sitting on a bedroom floor pretending with your beloved paper dolls.