The Gardener

The Gardener

A Story by Sean Allen
"

This story was inspired by my meeting, thirty years ago, one of the three people mentioned in it.

"

The Gardener

The old man was up early, already walking towards his garden which over the years had become his favorite passion. The sun had begun evaporating the dew that had formed on pretty much everything in the cool night air.  He turned the handle on the greenhouse door and went in to get what were now the “tools of his trade.” A galvanized watering can, a hoe with an oak handle that fit his hands perfectly and a trowel which was his favorite tool because to use it he had to  get down on his knees and closer to the flowers  in his garden he so loved.

 

He had spent a long career, as so many of us do, in the business and manufacturing world, he had also been an accomplished rancher and spent time in the military as a younger man.  It was what we would certainly call a fulfilled life. At one time in his life he had wanted to be a teacher, and his son had ended up in that profession, so that pleased the old man greatly.

 

Approaching the garden and preparing to get to work, he noticed that six of the gladioli he had been watching had reached full bloom during the night and a beautiful fragrance filled the air in their corner of the garden. “When I started this garden I had no idea how much pleasure it would bring me.” He said out loud, although no one was there to listen as he spoke to himself.

 

Remembering that he was still holding onto the watering can with one hand and the hoe and trowel with the other, he put down the two implements and walked to the well with the can. Although he could have easily have hired gardeners to tend his flowers and installed running water, he opted for the old fashioned cast iron pump painted with green enamel and a brass handle that was polished and smooth by the old man’s constant touch. “When something works, why change it?” He thought.

 

As he pumped the handle, waiting for the water to rise to the surface, he was reminded of an ex-employee and dear old friend named Ira who had also been a songwriter when he was a young man. The old man did not pay much attention to last names, so it is out of no disrespect that he now only thought of him just as Ira. “A surname makes one part of a family or clan or group.” The old man used to say, “Someone’s son or daughter.  All people should be judged on their own merits, their own life.”   Anyhow, the old green pump had reminded him that Ira’s most popular of many many songs had been inspired by meeting a young boy playing near just such a pump.

 

As the sprinkling can was near full, he stopped pumping and waited for the flow of the water to end. Then he walked back to the garden and began sprinkling his flowers. He had not noticed earlier that there were a couple of new pink roses as well and he almost playfully sprinkled water on the petals and leaves as well as the base of the plants.

 

He was certain that pink roses were really beautiful young women at the age when they were their prettiest.  The rose petals dancing in the water falling from the can reminded him of another employee, Agnes, arguably the most faithful employee he ever had.  She had worked for him for many more years than he had ever expected and in fact had never even asked for or wanted a raise.  Her second name Gonxhe, although not her surname, actually meant rosebud in her native language which, by the way, the old man knew and always spoke to her in even though they both spoke many languages.

 

Time was racing by and the Sun was now quite high in the sky, it was nearing noon. Remembering what day it was and that his son was coming by for lunch he quickly continued watering. Somehow, every day there was always just enough water to be sure that every flower was properly watered and he never needed to return to the well. As he reached the other end of the garden and sprinkled the remaining drops onto a lone purple Pansy touched with yellow it seemed to be looking right at him. It reminded him of another trusted employee named William.

 

Whereas some employees worked better one on one, or through their musical talents, William had the special gift of working with large groups of people, speaking as if to each one personally while he spoke to the group as a whole. This ability had helped the old man’s business grow greatly throughout the years. The old man decided that the lone Pansy represented the one remaining person in the world that William was still trying to reach with the old man’s message.

 

Each day, in the garden, he would think of other employees, there had been so many over the years. But as he gathered his trowel, his hoe and the galvanized watering can, the three he thought about today reminded him that his son was coming for lunch, so he hurried home…

 

 

© 2010 Sean Allen


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Featured Review

I can see why this came to mind when you read the poem. This is lovely. The detail in the story is wonderful and give it a very rich feel. His memories of Ira, Agnes and William were wonderful and I imagine this is much the way gardners to do remember and feel. Thanks for sharing this Donn. I'm so glad that I got to read it.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

What a refreshing story! This was a excellent read!

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I loved reading this .. i want a vegetable garden this year but it isn't going to happen..This man seems so content and caring thinking of his former employees.. a wonderful story!

Chloe

Posted 11 Years Ago


It would be a glorious and peaceful way to spend a bit of ones retirement Excelant story well told

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Odd how flowers bring old memories to mind. I have flowers that belonged to both of my grandmothers, and some that were given to me by friends. Tending them does make me think of the givers.

Posted 11 Years Ago


I love gardens, and in the cold of winter yours was a perfect way to feel the richness and warmth of summer again. Such a beauty in your descriptions of roses and names and the wonder of the gardener. So wonderful to read!

Posted 11 Years Ago


Hi,

This was a wonderful piece. I liked the bit about the surnames - it made me think. I have a small garden too but have a gardener who comes in every Sunday morning - You made me wonder if the flowers will become more beautiful if I spend more time with them?
Any way I liked you easy style and the picture you paint with your words in the reader's mind.
Thank you for sharing
Bhumi

Posted 11 Years Ago


I can see why this came to mind when you read the poem. This is lovely. The detail in the story is wonderful and give it a very rich feel. His memories of Ira, Agnes and William were wonderful and I imagine this is much the way gardners to do remember and feel. Thanks for sharing this Donn. I'm so glad that I got to read it.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on November 8, 2009
Last Updated on May 7, 2010

Author

Sean Allen
Sean Allen

West Haven, CT



About
I am just a writer! At least I think I am. If I can only convince someone else of that, I will be a happy writer. But until then, I'm just a writer. Check out www.EclipseLogic.com and www.LightO.. more..

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