I was somewhat startled when I heard the doorbell ring and was tempted to ignore it. I wasn’t expecting anyone, which meant it was probably someone who was going to invite me to their church or tell me about a candidate I simply had to vote for. Maybe it was a little kid selling candy or cookies? Why don’t they ever sell plants door to door?
In spite of my instinct to just ignore whoever was there, I soon found myself opening the door and exchanging greetings with an old woman in a wide-brimmed hat, wearing an old green sweatshirt and loose khaki pants with mud stains on the knees. She seemed delighted that I had opened the door, telling me that she had been looking for me and had a gardening secret to share.
At first I was suspicious. Who was this old woman? She seemed familiar to me, but I couldn’t quite figure out why. I looked down at her feet and noticed she was wearing the same brand of gardening clogs that I wear, and her hat actually looked like the one I won when I went to Austin for the first garden bloggers’ fling three years ago, though it appeared to be older and more worn out than mine.
There was something I immediately liked about this old woman, though don’t ask me to describe that something because it would be difficult to put into words. I invited her in and she headed right for the sun room, suggesting that we sit at the table in that room and she would tell me the secret. As she walked toward the sun room, she asked if I had any iced green tea to drink.
How did she know about the sun room? Or that I would have iced green tea in the refrigerator.
I went to the kitchen and dutifully poured some iced green tea into two tall glasses, took them out to the sun room and sat across from the old woman. I noticed then that she had green eyes which were almost the color of mine, but a bit softer in color, perhaps a faded version of my own eyes.
She took a sip of tea and paused. Then reaching across the table, she grabbed on to my hands, looked right at me, and said, “I’ve come to tell you a secret of gardening, one that many don’t learn until it is nearly too late.”
I caught myself almost holding my breath as I waited for her to continue.