Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Garden (09/07/06)
TITLE: Movin' on to Greener Pastures
By Joanne Malley
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As someone who has no business near plant seeds or foliage of any kind – mark my words - there will come a day I’ll grow a healthy garden.
So…for argument’s sake, let’s forget the numerous counts of manslaughter against me regarding my houseplants and we’ll simply just write it off as a bad year.
Branded a murderer, it’s hard to shake my past. Without as much as a murmur, my two brown thumbs speak volumes on behalf of my limp ferns.
With my history, it’s no shock I’m the only one in my office without a plant. Not because I don’t like them, mind you – it’s just that I’ve always been better at feeding myself. The proof’s in the fact that just yesterday my purple violet bit the dust and joined last month’s progress report in the trash - bless his shriveled petals.
Anyway, when our office held a holiday grab bag, I was tickled pink when my co-worker, Sasha, pulled my name. She evokes such style and finesse. I strutted around like the cat’s meow when word escaped she picked me. For sure, I’d receive a choice gift. I couldn’t have been happier if I’d gotten back into my size six jeans.
Could you just imagine my elation when I discovered a Chia Pet under the wrapping? After my excitement waned and I stopped doing cartwheels, I politely reminded Sasha that we were celebrating Christmas, not April Fool’s day.
It didn’t take much to realize she was one of those clueless types, but I didn’t have the heart to tell her a Chia Pet doesn’t actually qualify as a present. I’m convinced she’s the only person unaware that it’s categorized as an “I-didn’t-know-what-else-to-get-you” gift.
Thankfully, thoughts of my mother’s refined etiquette quelled my burning urge to toss my gift in the holiday donation bin. Since I was bred with good manners, I made sure that when I grimaced and winced over what I received, it was behind Sasha’s back.
While a few workers in the corner counted their lucky stars that they weren’t me, I nonchalantly glanced at my watch to determine if I had time to return the hideous thing. If I didn’t make it back for cake and coffee, I could at least rest in the fact that I know how to prioritize my important tasks at hand.
After a few moments, I grappled with an insane idea. I contemplated keeping the Chia head that grew sprouts. I decided to give Sasha the benefit of the doubt and considered her gift selection to be, at best, an education and a chance at redemption.
I thought there was an exact science to a windowsill garden, but according to the directions, I just needed to spread some seeds on the bald, clay head and water it. I looked forward to this opportunity to clear my name and prove myself a competent gardener.
To my surprise, one month later, Charles the Chia head survived. I was ecstatic I had moved on to greener pastures! With a notch now on my gardening belt, it was time tempt fate and nurture innocent fruits and vegetables in my yard. No longer would they need to hide behind the fear of death while under my care. More importantly, my thumbs would have the chance to rinse themselves clean of the color brown.
I was smart enough to know that nurturing a full-fledged garden would entail much more than caring for my garden pet, Charlie. Plenty of sunshine, the right soil conditions and strength to toil rigorously in the garden would be necessary for the fruits of my labor to sprout and take root.
Granted, it would be a time consuming task to keep the weeds and devious leaf-eating bugs at bay, but with the right deterrents, fertilizers, and water, my garden would flourish properly.
As I thought of my new, green friend Charles, I realized there have been times I’ve done only half of what’s required to fertilize my Christian life. Sure, I’ve collected and planted plenty of seeds, but sometimes I’ve forgotten the watering process. Whenever I cough up dust and dirt particles, it’s a clear indicator that my moisture level’s low and it’s time to water.
The next time I see Sasha, I’ll thank her again for her impeccable taste in gifts.
And, when April Fool’s Day approaches, she’ll have an opportunity to say the same to me when I do the thoughtful, gracious thing and re-gift Charlie.
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