His callous hands that are the product of hard work and diligence dig into the soil. He has just unearthed a giant chunk with his pitchfork and placed it to the side. He delicately frees the wiggling captives from the soil and places them into a bucket. The rocks that he sees go into a neighboring bucket. The rest of the soil is heaved onto a makeshift window frame that has been adorned with mesh wire and placed on a wheelbarrow. He uses the prow to carefully separate the soil and slowly sifts it free and clear of any blemishes. This is a tedious and careful affair but every year he preforms this ceremony.
The garden that blooms every year is one of his hobbies, but more than that it has become a living symbol of the person he is. The leaves he carefully collected during the fall will be placed in the giant hole he has created and then with a toss the worms join in. He will place the fine sifted soil on top and turn it over several times. The garden always yields a variety of fruits and vegetables. There are always two rows of tomatoes, two pepper rows one red and one green, squash, and green and wax beans. The strawberries are always designated a row, the blackberries line the outside of the fence next to the raspberries. The chives are always close to the gate, as a final afterthought for any salad maker.
The two apple trees always provide shelter for hot summer days, but the peach, and plum tree are nothing to sneeze at. The two walnut trees in the front yard do yield a good deal of nuts, but the competition with the squirrels is fierce. He has added several rose bushes next to the front yard fence, and the honeysuckle bush has attracted quite a few little visitors over the years.
The garden was always a fascination for any visitor but most especially to me. The garden was a perfect showcase of his talents. He was always dutiful and consistent, two qualities that allowed for his garden to flourish year after year. These qualities were not the only ones he was gifted with. He was always patient, loving, gentle and kind. Anything he found lost or foundling he tried to mend. My mom always said this is how she ended up with their lamb Eddy. Eddy was going to be put down, when my grandpa heard this he decided to adopt the lamb. There were other animals along the way a couple of dogs, a cat, and some bunnies.
It should be no surprise to anyone that he came to mend me. I was only six when my parents got divorced and I was 11 when my father passed. Grandpa had already raised five children he certainly had earned a chance to rest. But, I was a foundling and he saw in me troubles that he thought he could fix. He was careful like always with his first sprouted seeds. Protecting them from the harsh sun and providing them with nutrients and care. He would keep a quiet eye on their progress but never quite left them alone. He was always a constant warmth even on the coldest of days. I miss him always but especially as the spring weather arrives and the flowers start to bloom. I want to thank you Grandpa for being my faithful gardener. I am sure I would not be half the person I am without your loving care. Happy birthday grandpa.