Neglected Garden

The house was silent and dusty, the uncirculated air stale from months of unoccupied neglect. Karla moved from room to room, parting curtains, raising blinds, and throwing windows open to the fresh air of fall. They’d moved Mitch’s ninety-four-year old mother, Ida, into a nursing home six months ago, leaving the house empty for the first time in more than fifty years. The vacant rooms seemed to whisper distressed questions to her as she passed through.  Where’s our laughter? Where’s our purpose? Will we ever be a home again?
Karla paused in the doorway to the kitchen, the focal point of any home. Here the air held an undercurrent of family meals prepared with love and attention. She rubbed her hand against the sleek wood of the door facing and answered the whispered questions. “Soon.”
She continued out the back door, into memories of the lush garden that had been Ida’s pride and joy. The lawn service Mitch had hired kept the grass mowed, but the flower gardens and the plot for the vegetable garden were overgrown and neglected. Karla’s lips ticked up in a smile. She saw herself as the young mother she used to be, standing in the same place she stood now, while Ida rocked in her porch swing.
“Have you seen Nicolas?”
Ida put a finger to her lips and continued to rock. “Nicolas Andrew Black, are you in my strawberry patch?”
A muffled voice came from the direction of said strawberries. “No, Grandma.”
Ida tilted her head towards the garden with a smile. “You better not be.”
Karla shook herself free of the memory. The garden had been a special place for grandma and grandson. An opportunity to get grubby, no questions asked. She wondered if Nicolas still enjoyed playing in the dirt. It saddened her that she didn’t have an answer to that question. But then, he probably couldn’t provide an answer either. For twenty-five years, he’d traveled wherever the Air Force sent him. Years with few assignments close to home. Single, dedicated, a new base every three or four years. Finding it convenient to either rent or live in base housing. Never having a place to call his own. But that was about to change. USAF Col. Nicolas Black, retired, was returning to Garfield. This cottage would become his home. Karla looked over the gardens once more and for a brief moment saw them as they should be. She couldn’t wait to help Nicolas dig in.

***While you're here, Please take a few minutes to visit the tabs at the top of the page. Terri has an interview with Michael J Webb. Michael is here to talk about his new book, The Oldest Enemy. Be sure to leave a comment when you visit. Michael will be giving away an autographed copy of his book at the end of the week. Karla welcomes Kathleen Y'Barbo and Lena Nelson Dooley to her page for a sneak peak at their upcoming releases. Callie has a special devotion prepared for us by Carole Lehr Johnson . Pam just posted a yummy (and gluten free) recipe for Fried Chicken Rollups.***

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