Pops has always kept a garden. He grows things like peas and carrots, radishes and green beans, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and plenty of weeds. Once or twice he grew corn just tall and delicious enough for the horses to find their way from green pastures into the yard for the free buffet.
We no longer plant corn.
I love Pops’ garden. I love it as much as the deer love his peas and the moles love his radishes. I love to watch it sprouting from my parents’ deck. I like to watch their cat hunt for mice and big bugs out there. I love breaking off rhubarb stocks, digging around for the first sign of a ripe carrot and the taste of the first fresh garden tomato on a BLT.
A few weeks ago Pops’ garden had a new tiny visitor, a little girl named Addy who flew in all the way from Texas to explore the ranch where her grandpa grew up.
Addy climbed hills and picked flowers,
looked out for Little Man,
chased the cat, bossed the dogs,
got a woodtick or two, and probably a few mosquito bites too.
I followed the little darling around because I didn’t want to miss a word that came out of her adorable little mouth.
“Jessie, can I borrow your ring for when my prince comes?” she asked as she made her way out of my bedroom with one of my big bling rings wobbling on her tiny pointer finger.
“Well of course you can Addy. You can have anything you want. Want my wedding ring too? Take it. Want all of my necklaces and my horse and my car and the pug? You might need those too, you know, so you’re prepared when your prince comes.”
I would have given that girl anything she wanted, but Addy didn’t want everything, she just wanted to play. So we did. I showed her around the place, showed her where the tiger lilies grew and where the dogs go for a swim. Addy wanted to swim too, so I found someone to tell her it might not be a good idea.
There was not a chance I was uttering the word “no” to this girl.
So instead I took her to the garden to teach her about growing things and how you’re supposed to step over the pea plants and not necessarily on them.
I watched as she put her hands on her knees and squatted down to get close to the leaves of the strawberry plant, where she declared and made known to the world every bug that crawled on its leaves.
I gave her a taste of rhubarb and watched her cute little face pucker up while she threw the stalk down, declaring it sour before asking for another one.
I followed her following the cat who was hot on the trail of a mouse.
I tried to convince her that pulling weeds might be fun.
She convinced me it was time to go inside.
But before dinner was on the table we were back out there again because Addy said, “Jessie come out here, I think that it’s growing! The garden is growing!”
And so she was right. It was growing. Growing by the minute like this little girl’s wonder and knowledge of the world. So I told her that it might grow faster if we watered it a bit. She grabbed the end of the hose and I headed for the spigot.
“Ready. Set. Go!” Addy yelled in my direction as I pulled the lever up and the water made its way through the hose and to the little girl’s hands squeezing the nozzle.
Addy was watering the garden.
It’s what good princesses do. They tend to the growing things and make the world a little bit greener, the sky a little bit bluer, the birds a little bit chirpier and grown women cry at the utter cuteness of it all…
It turns out, little garden princesses make rainbows too.
At least that what princess Addy did. She made a rainbow with the sun and the water.
“Look Jessie, I’m watering the rainbow!”
“No Addy, you made it! Look at that, you made a rainbow!”
And then I cried a little bit under the protection of my sunglasses so my family observing from the deck could not see that she was melting my heart into a puddle in my chest.
Turns out that making rainbows make princesses thirsty and so Addy needed a drink…
And I cried some more.
Yes, Pops has always kept a garden, but if he never plants another one, it won’t matter. All of the failed attempts at squash, overgrown asparagus and horse-chewed corn on the cob was worth it.
Because it turns out gardens are not made for horses or rabbits or moles or regular people who like home grown tomatoes. No. Gardens are made for princesses, and finally, one came to visit ours!