Grandma's Garden

I watched my grandma hoe the clay soil in my garden. "Don't see how you grow anything in this," she mused. "Colorado soil can't compare to yours in Iowa, Grandma!"

I stared at her in awe, capturing the moment in my memory forever. Wisps of her silvery hair sneaked from beneath her headscarf as her thin torso bent down to pull a fistful of bindweed. "This stuff will grow anywhere," she laughed. "Even in this soil!"

Although she lived alone on the Iowa farm she and Grandpa had settled a half century ago, she still maintained a garden that could sustain most of Benton County! Some of my favorite summer childhood days had been spent in her garden helping her pull up plants she identified as weeds, or planting vegetables and flowers. She had taught me that gardening wasn't only about cultivating plants, it was about cultivating faith. Each seed planted was proof of that. When I was seven I asked, "Grandma, how do the seeds know to grow the roots down and the green part up?" "Faith," was her answer.

When I grew up and married, my husband recognized the impression Grandma's dirt left under my fingernails and in my heart. He supported my dream to live outside the city, and our two-acre plot had a horse, dog, cat, rabbit, six hens and, of course, a large garden. I was privileged and overjoyed to have Grandma working in it.

Grandma leaned the hoe next to a fence post and walked to my flower bed to help me plant the daisies she'd brought from her garden to mine. She didn't know I was watching as she patted the dirt around the base of a plant. Waving her hand in the sign of a cross above it, she whispered, "God bless you, grow."
I'd almost forgotten that garden blessing from my youth. Ten years later, those daisies still flourish.

Grandma is tending God's garden now but still influences me daily. Whenever I tuck a seedling into the earth, I trace a small cross above it in the air and say, "God bless you, grow."

And in quiet times, I can still hear her blessing, nurturing my faith. "God bless you, grow."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A little girl was sitting on her grandfather's lap as he read her a bedtime story. From time to time, she would take her eyes off the book and reach up to touch his wrinkled cheek. She was alternately stroking her own cheek, then his again.

Finally she spoke up, "Grandpa, did God make you?"

"Yes, sweetheart," he answered, "God made me a long time ago."

"Oh," she paused, "Grandpa, did God make me too?"

"Yes, indeed, honey," he said, "God made you just a little while ago."

Feeling their respective faces again, she observed,
"God's getting better at it, isn't he?"

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