Friday, May 7, 2010

Della...a gardener's friend

Yesterday afternoon found me getting down & dirty out on the patio!
I had taken Bob's truck to the garden center & hauled home a pick-up load of annuals I spent the afternoon & evening getting dirty as a pig on the patio.
When I work out doors, I'm more than likely by myself
so have tons of time for reflection & usually my mind goes racing.
Since it's almost Mother's Day, I found myself thinking about my Mom,
& also my mother-in-law. Both of them loved their flower gardens.
This story is about Bonnie & her friend.
As I looked around &  found that some of my perennials need some dividing,
it brought back memories of Bonnie, my mother-in-law, &  Della, her dear old friend.
When the Thompson's moved to Columbus in 1968, Bonnie found a friend in Della,
a much older saint in their church. Della was an "old-maid", never married,
& had spent her lifetime as a school teacher. She lived just across the Brown County line,
living on the old home place where she was raised. Bonnie was the first to live in the new parsonage & the yard was fresh for plantings of annuals, perennials, shrubs &  trees.
Bonnie & Della became gardeners on a mission,
to beautify the new parsonage grounds.
Della was known for her eccentricity.
She loved animals, & if I remember right,
at first there were horses on her farm.
And dogs.
She had lots & lots of dogs, who interbred
& had lots & lots of puppies.
I remember one extremely cold winter, Della came to church & sat all bundled up in her coat, which wasn't really that unusual for her. As she left the church foyer that evening, she quietly showed Bonnie what was under her coat....a very small puppy! The puppy wasn't doing well &  she had brought it in her car. When she got to the church parking lot, she was afraid the puppy would freeze, so she brought him in & kept him hidden under her coat!
Della also loved her flowers.
And she shared them with Bonnie!
She would come into town with a trunk load of a variety of things she had dug up from her gardens, wanting to share with her young pastor's wife. The parsonage yard began to blossom, partly from the shared blessings from Della's Brown County gleanings. I remember Bonnie saying that Della would be coming so she would have to spend most of the day outdoors.
 Both of them spent many hours of labor in those flower beds.

Another thing that Della liked to share was her "fertilizer"!
It was the natural kind...
the kind she scooped up from the barnyard...
& usually stinky!
But she knew that it did wonders on the plants & insisted that Bonnie use it in her gardens.
Later, when her mind began to fade, Della would sometimes bring "fertilizer" from her dogs!
And that kind was not much appreciated by the lady of the parsonage.

A day or two ago I was looking at my Iris & decided I needed to divide them &  move them around. I'm about to run out of room &  don't want to dig up any more beds in our yard.
So the thought breezed through my mind that I should share some of these with our new Pastor's wife. You see, they too have a new parsonage & are just beginning to do some gardening of their own. And I thought that Darla might enjoy a clump of my Iris, which also had been shared with me by my friend. That is what perennials are pass along.
And that's when it hit me.
Darla has become Bonnie.
And I've become Della!


Anonymous said...



Karen Walden said...

Now it's your turn to go to Sis. Shockley's house and spend hours working in her flower beds!! Be sure to take some good smelling fertilizer too!!!

I remember Sis. Dobbs would always tell us "I remember where there was nothing downtown except the post office!"

Didn't she just leave her suitcases packed after a trip to Israel and they were still packed the next time they went? :o)

She was a sweet lady! If you're gonna be like someone, she's a good one to choose! I'm sure Sis. Shockley will love your flowers! :)

Sheila said...

Cross your fingers that Sis. Shockley won't read this & expect me to come with my work gloves on! :) ... There are lots of stories I could tell about sweet lady Della. But some of them might be best untold. She got to be quite the character, didn't she? She was your Grandma's buddy! And yes, she is the one that didn't unpack her suitcase. I think Grandpa said he took Grandma every 10 years! Good thing she didn't get in a hurry.

Nettie's Nook said...

Such a touching story. I think that you missed your calling, you should be an book author.I love looking in my garden, I have some irises that were starts from Ruth Watkins. Keep writing Sheila it is a joy to read your blog.

ng said...

Enjoyed your "true" short story! Yes, I too think you should be a book author!