I began "Yard Notes" two years ago as short stories I posted on this blog about the plants and trees that my father planted in our yard 48 years ago. My father died one year ago on August 26, 2006. On the first anniversary of his death, I finished editing the old stories and writing new ones, and added some photos. Here, then, in a series of blogs, are my updated Yard Notes stories. These are for you, Dad!
Date: 9/5/2007 1:37:01 AM ( 14 y ) ... viewed 2574 times
Photograph by Liora Leah August 2007
First Things First
When thinking about what Dad meant to my family, we most often think of him in terms of our personal relationships with him as our father, brother, uncle, grandfather, or husband to Mom. We recall what he did for a living as a research chemist and later as a book store co-owner. We recollect that he contributed to the community at large as a veteran and a local politician. We remember his enjoyment as a stamp and coin collector, world traveler, and book lover. When I think about Dad and what he contributed most to me, besides his role as my father, I think about his love for green and growing things.
Dad would never have called himself a “nature lover.” Although he and Mom took vacation trips to view some of the National Parks, Dad was not a hunter, camper, hiker, fisherman, sportsman, or “outdoorsman.” He was not an outspoken environmentalist or a “tree hugger.” His connection to nature was quiet, unobtrusive, and unspoken, exhibiting itself in his “green thumb” as he tended, for many weekends over many years, to the trees, shrubs, and potted plants that greened his home. Dad would not have called himself a “gardener” as he spoke of his activities simply as “yard work;” hence the title of this blog.
When I moved into Dad’s home six years ago after Mom died, Dad was no longer able to take care of the yard. I took on the task, and at first it felt rather burdensome, given the large property and the many, many trees and plants that needed tending. After getting most of the yard in shape with the huge help of gardeners and tree-trimmers, I was able to manage some of the less strenuous gardening activities such as watering and trimming select bushes and potted plants. As I worked with the plants and spent time outside enjoying the trees, I started to recall memories from childhood; it was as if the trees, shrubs and bushes had stories to tell me. I started sharing these memories with Dad. At a time when he was becoming quiet and withdrawn, the recollections about the yard became an important link of communication between us.
I started writing some of these memories down as stories about two years ago, and posted them on “Mother Earth Heals.” After Dad died, I meant to finish up the stories and print them out for Dad’s memorial service, as my tribute to him, but time went by and this didn’t happen; the stories remained stored on Curezone. About two months ago I set a goal to get them out to my family in time for the first year anniversary of Dad’s death.
On the 26th day of August, 2007, I sent the stories out as an e-book to my family members.
My only regret is that I did not read these stories to Dad while he was still living. Yet as I sat at the computer editing the original stories and writing new ones, I felt Dad’s presence, as if he was giving me ideas as he looked over my shoulder and read along.
First of eight stories in the Yard Notes series: Tools & Sweat http://curezone.com/blogs/m.asp?f=309&i=426
Second story in the series: Grass & Water http://curezone.com/blogs/m.asp?f=309&i=7
Third story: Dandelions & Snails http://curezone.com/blogs/m.asp?f=309&i=427
Fourth story: Trees & Fence http://curezone.com/blogs/m.asp?f=309&i=8
Fifth story: Berries & Concrete http://curezone.com/blogs/m.asp?f=309&i=9
Sixth story: Tree Dreams http://curezone.com/blogs/m.asp?f=309&i=428
Seventh story: Star Jasmine http://curezone.com/blogs/m.asp?f=309&i=429
Eighth story: Monster Plants http://curezone.com/blogs/m.asp?f=309&i=48
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