Elsie loved summer the most. Not just because it was warm and she could spend all day in her garden but because it was when her garden would bloom into so many vibrant colours and types of dahlias. Her dahlias won prizes every year at the town fair and people would slow down as they drove passed her place just to gaze at the beautiful garden that wrapped around the front and down one side of her little house. In the back was a small barn like structure her husband had used as a work shop. Some of his woodworking tools were still there waiting for someone to come and put them to use. The last thing he had made for Elsie was a silly duck with wings that turned in the wind. She would put it up each spring when she was planting her tubers, to keep the birds from getting into them. It’s bright yellow seemed to give the birds enough warning that they did not bother the plants much. The yellow duck was a good companion to the yellow marigolds Elsie would plant all around the edge of her garden to keep the pests and slugs out. She prided herself on using natural, chemical free ways of protecting her garden and it paid off. She won prizes at the fair that helped her with a little income and she sold bouquets of her flowers from a road side stand. Each morning she would cut fresh flowers and fill the little buckets with water and bouquets. Setting out the little buckets and locked coin box securely attached to the stand for each day was what kept her going. She was able to make enough income each year to somehow get by.
Elsie would forget at times that her husband was gone and she could almost hear him working away in the shop while she weeded her garden. She never felt lonely though. To her the dahlias we more than just pretty flowers. They were her community and it was her job to protect them. Each fall she would clip down the plants and dig up the tubers and store them in her basement on special racks her husband had made many years ago. “See Ernie, your work still goes on being useful to me. So you are still with me.” Elsie would say as she used the things he had made for her. He had made them all with love for her and this was his way of continuing to love her.
Elsie and Ernie had started the garden on their first wedding anniversary. Ernie had bought Elsie a handful of tubers to plant because he knew how much she loved dahlias. Each year the plans would produce more tubers and each fall they would carefully put them away on the racks and plant again in the spring. Ernie kept building new racks each year to hold the tubers and expand the garden each spring to hold all of the wonderful flowers. They loved seeing how each year brought more and more colour into their lives and each year Elsie would win prizes at the town fair. The garden grew with their love and the town enjoyed their lovely garden year after year. “I will keep going as long as I can.” Elsie would say when anyone asked if she was ever going to stop. Elsie did keep going each year until one day she sat down in her garden, looked around at all the beautiful flowers and smiled. Then suddenly she tipped over into the flowers and as they slowed her fall to the ground she drifted away, still smiling. It was only moments later she was found by someone walking by. The town made sure the dahlias decorated the chapel for her funeral and all around her grave. Everyone knew Elsie’s garden would be missed. So that fall people gathered and each took home one tuber or so to carefully keep until the spring when they could plant them in their own garden. Elsie’s garden would live on and continue to grow.
To this day, everyone who was touched by Elsie and Ernie in some way thinks of them when they see a dahlia.
About the author
Life is an adventure and sometimes the adventure is figuring out who you are and why you have learned so many odd skills years before. I think it is time to share my adventures in stories my imagination has been aching to create.