" A land without ruin is a land without memories. A land without memories is a land without history. Crowns of roses fade . Crowns of thorns endure. -Anon.
My mother died when she was 40 and I was four years old. My father , a farmer, had to place us in a nearby home for orphans until we three sisters were old enough to do farm work.
I was ten when I left the orphanage. I'll never forget the day Daddy took me to an old abandoned run-down farmhouse to show me the only place he and my Mom ever owned , but lost in a foreclosure.
Despite the neglect, I could still see the remnants of my Mother's garden - roses still struggling to bloom, apple trees with small fruit hanging from their gnarled limbs, and mildewed Lilacs.
In honor of my Mother's 99th birthday on July 2 I have written of that long ago garden :
A faded gray monument to a long ago life windows black gaping holes remember summers of laughter and song winters of noses pressed against them prayers for snow
Evil weeds took notice of the gardener's departure choking, strangling the hot Alabama sun a witness to the garden 's death.
These were the people of the house:
Ruby tall , brown and strong worked the land cabbages, onions, tomatoes, green beans, black-eyed peas okra , melons, beets bounty of her table sweat of her brow
Glen farmed the land cursing the red clay earth turning it about until it was black cotton, corn, peanuts Irish and Sweet potatoes tended from dawn to dusk
Early Spring Came first born son Cecil followed by three bonneted girls Wilma, Carolyn and Linda seeds they planted sunflowers , four o'clocks and daisies of course.
roses and lilacs perfumed the summer air crepe myrtle, sweet shrub and lavender also grew there.
Evenings on the front porch in rocking chairs Hank Williams sang of whipporwills three sisters kicked the can Hot July nights watermelon all around.
October came and the last crop harvested. The land lay barren and brown.
The music died one cold Autumn night and with it laughter a freezing rain beat down on sad faces
A wagon piled high with a life : Glen's rocking chair he made of cedar Ruby's roses all packed in pots Cecil's battered oak desk Wilma's handmade dollhouse Carolyn's wooden rocking horse Linda's baby bed .