Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “Do any of your characters garden? Or keep houseplants? How about you?”
Neither my characters or I have really taken an interest in gardening. In fact, the few house plants I had didn’t last long. Once when my supervisor at work gave me a plant as a gift, and I showed it to my mother, she said, “Why don’t you let me take it? You’ll just kill it.”
Naturally, I was surprised when, after Mother’s passing, Dad brought me one of her poinsettias, saying, “I think she’d want you to have this.”
When I tried to explain that plants didn’t usually last long in my care and told him what Mother had said about me killing a plant, he said, “Bullshit!”
With advice given by a friend of Mother’s who had a similar plant, I tried, but the plant only lasted six months. To my credit, it was the longest I’d ever had a plant.
That having been said, when I was in my tweens, we lived in a house with a garden. One year, we grew vegetables, and I loved watching Mother water them and eating them after they were harvested. Believe it or not, I was one of those kids who liked vegetables, especially if they were cooked.
The following poem was inspired by a memory of my parents first attempting to plant those vegetables. It appears in my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver and has since been revised. You can click the link below to hear me read it.
In the Garden
by Abbie Johnson Taylor
There are no trees, just an expanse of dirt.
While Mother and Dad work, I sit on the steps,
with limited vision, study seed packets of peas, corn, tomatoes,
read the labels, gaze at the pictures.
I’m only twelve.
Little brother Andy, five,
is riding his bike around the neighborhood.
In the distance, sirens wail.
“Sounds like fire engines,” says Dad.
In the house, the phone rings.
I hurry indoors to answer it.
A male voice asks for my mother.
I rush outside, call her to the phone.
“Oh my god! We’ll be right there,” she says.
“Ed, we need to pick up Andy at the police station.
He was playing with matches near the shack
at the bottom of the hill when it caught fire.”
The garden and I are abandoned.
How about you? Do you or any of your characters garden or have house plants? You can either sound off in the comment field or click here to participate in this week’s hop and read what other bloggers have to say.
Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.
Independently published with the help of DLD Books.
Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.
After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.
Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.
Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?