Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Planting Seeds

Welcome to my blog, a public diary chronicling the joys and frustrations of writing for a living, and a few points of interest along my life's meandering journey.

I write inspirational stories about relationships that share wisdom and teach important moral and life lessons, stories in which the reader might find hope, guidance, rekindled affection and a reason to smile.

Please visit www.gregoryelang.com and click the red corner on the home page just beneath the “Projects” tab to learn more about what projects I may be working on.

NOTE: The deadline to offer a mother-daughter story for “Mom’s Little Angel” has passed. Please continue to visit this blog for updates on the book as it begins the last leg of its journey toward publication (Spring, 2009).

Now on to today’s post~

One of the pains of writing books such as those I write, books based on other people’s true stories, is when the time comes to cut material to make the book fit within the budget and projected page count (it may surprise you but many details like page count, even the overall dimensions of the cover of a book, are carefully planned). This story (revised from a previous version) was cut from the final draft, yet it remains one I like very much, maybe because I enjoy working in the yard, too:

Planting Seeds

One Saturday afternoon in early spring Shelby stepped outside to plant flowers in the front flowerbed. It was time to get the petunias and geraniums in the ground before the heat of summer arrived. Kneeling on the ground and reaching into the dirt to pull out weeds, she smiled at her eight year old daughter who worked willingly beside her.

As they worked together to prepare the flowerbed Shelby remembered the first time Madison had helped her in the yard. Only four years old at the time, wearing her own sun hat and using child-sized garden tools, the little girl sat in the dirt alongside mom and planted seeds. Every spring and fall for the past four years they have worked side by side in the beds keeping seasonal color in their yard and enjoying the time spent together.

On this afternoon, after the weeds had been pulled and the soil loosened, Shelby dug the holes while Madison pulled the flowers from their plastic containers before placing each one in its own hole. Then together they filled in the holes and tamped the dirt down with their hands, chit-chatting nonstop as they worked. When they had planted all the flowers they sat back in the grass to admire their work and laugh at their dirty hands and knees.

Shelby herself had learned about gardening one warm and sunny Seattle afternoon nearly thirty years ago when her own mother had shooed her out of the house to help work in the flower beds. She had pulled weeds and spaded soil and listened with interest as her ever-cheerful mom told stories of her childhood. They worked side by side and talked until nearly sunset. The job finally done, they stood back and admired their work – a circular bed of bright petunias and geraniums.
They put away the tools and washed their dirty hands, and her mom praised Shelby for working so hard. “How can I reward you?” she asked.

“Just more time with you,” Shelby answered.

Holding hands and sipping from large, cold glasses of sweet lemonade, mother and daughter walked past neighbors’ homes and admired those gardens but laughingly agreed theirs was the prettiest one of all. “Thank you for being my little helper,” Mom said, squeezing Shelby’s hand.

Shelby turned and smiled at Madison. “Which flowers do you like the best?” she asked.

“These,” Madison said, pointing to the petunias.

“Me, too!” Shelby reached out and rubbed dirt from her daughter’s knees. “Now let’s go wash up and have ourselves some lemonade.” She stood and taking Madison’s hand, led her toward the house. “Thank you for being my little helper,” she said as they climbed the steps onto the porch.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody!

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