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The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

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  1. The World Grumbled Belching fire, the world rumbled Rising anger, heaves forward Elevating towards the sky. Altering flows, the world grumbled Tilting upwards, trees shrouded Heaven watching rivers sigh. Shuttering, as the world is humbled.
  2. Thursday is the day we see Brayden my grandson. His Dad or Mom usually drops him off somewhere between 9-9:30 am. He spends the day with his Nanny and Nonno and he usually has a plan. A few hours of watching TV or Netflix, a light snack (peanut butter and toast) some apple juice and of course a Bear Paw (soft cookie). After this sedentary morning ritual we would pack up and go to McDonald’s. Brayden loves McDonald’s but not for the food. Brayden goes for the playground. A chance to run around and play with kids and make new friends. The McNuggets and apple slices were also always accompanied with a toy. This day I thought to myself I am going to get him to help me in the garden, which would be killing two birds with one stone. See I can bend down but between the bad back and knees I really thought the little man would be a help. Getting him outside was easy enough but what to do. “You want to help Nonno plant his garden Brayden?” he smiled and nodded his head. He is a pretty good worker and yet watching his Nonno turn over soil was not going to keep him interested very long. So I put down my spade and grabbed a envelope full of beans out of my office. Brayden of course came with me avoiding an anthill on both occasions. I had dried these beans from last season's crop. We walked back out his small hand in mine his Gillian’s hat on and rubber boots and plaid shorts and T shirt. Brayden was ready to plant. I warned him about an ant hill and not to stand on it and discovered that Brayden was terribly afraid of ants. As a boy I remember spending many hours collecting ants and placing them into a pickle jar, not my little grandson though. I carefully guided him past the ant hill and then took a 2x 8 board and laid it down. Next I quickly made a straight row along side the board with a hoe. At this point I gave Brayden a few beans and then show him how to place the beans into the trench. Brayden dump the handful to the ground some fell in place some not so much. We laughed and I told him to just place them not throw them. He insisted on grabbing another handful of beans which I allowed and he put about 6-8 beans very close together. I explain they needed to be spread out to grown and after a few minutes with the help of the hoe we covered them all up. I told Brayden “Next we need the watering can to give the beans a drink.” We could have just used the hose but the idea of handing Brayden a hose... I had learned a thing or two about boys. Carrying the water can together we each held the handle and Brayden grabbed my finger on the hand holding the watering can. Carefully avoiding the ant hill we were finally in position to water. Brayden seemed to enjoy this part and while he did still manage to wet me a bit the majority of the water went where it was supposed to. We were both thirsty having completed planting a couple of rows of beans and went inside for some water. I looked up at the clock and said “Guess what time it is Brayden?” Not missing a beat he responded “McDonald’s!” We gathered up Uncle Chris and went to McDonald’s. My wife Braden's Nanny came as well but she drove herself as she and Chris would need to run some errands later and that way Brayden could stay longer and play. We arrived at noon order the Happy meal four chicken McNuggets apple slices yogurt and chocolate milk and of course the toy. Brayden went so often that he often would get a toy he had already which would cause him to have a melt down but fortunately this was not the case. Some kids were already in the playground and Brayden dashed over kick off his running shoes and started making friends as he climbed up the apparatus. He nibbed his food and then would dashback in and play. A few minutes later another few bits and a sip of chocolate milk and back to playing. Nanny and Chris left and Brayden after waving goodbye to them went back to playing with his new friends. Brayden likes to stay as long as there are kids to play with. Usually they all leave before too long, but not today. 1:30 my coffee long finished and Brayden showing no signs of wanting to leave. I stood up and decide to give Brayden a 5 minute warning. Brayden wanted nothing to do with leaving. After what was closer to 15 minutes I came in and say it was time for us to leave. Brayden’s head dropped to his chest, arms straight by his side, lower lip pouting and then suddenly he brightened. “Nonno can we climb up the magic bean stalk when we get home?” I said “Sure Brayden.” suppressing a giggle I said “ Let’s go home and see” With that Brayden cheerily came along and as we drove home I warned him that beans do take time to grow even the magic kind. Apparently Brayden gets read a bedtime story or two but for the record I never started calling them magic beans until he did. When we arrived we saw no beans growing in the area we just planted but to my surprise there was a bean sprout growing. It was likely from last years crop but neither of us had noticed it before. Brayden got excited and started telling me that he would like to climb it when it grew up into the clouds. I asked him how a boy afraid of ants would do when he encountered a giant? His eyes widened and then we both giggled.
  3. Leger

    Aunt Josie's Garden

    Walking outside down the few steps into bright sunlight, it is a sight to behold. Her backyard was small and completely fenced in and yet with all the flowering plants and shrubs competing for space the only place left for them to grow was up. Next to the tiny patio and steps leading to a basement apartment a small black cat with blazing yellow eyes was enjoying the warm sanctuary she had created. My Aunt Josie was only about three cats short of being a crazy cat lady which is somewhat ironic since she had allergies to cats most of her life. The wooden fences were tall and the side of a brick building close the back end of her yard. Marigolds, Rose of Sharon and a host of other plants some she could name (some she couldn’t) were intermingled with pole beans tomatoes and peppers. Her diminutive frame often disappearing right in front of me from the dense foliage as she walked around showing me her garden. I followed closely behind and listened as she spoke about how she has too many plants and how I should dig one out and take it home with me. “You can have this one Joe. Just dig it out take it with you.” She would have let me take more but one Rose of Sharon was more than enough. It is growing very well in my garden now. When it flowers it’s blooms always remind me of her. In recent years I had not seen her as often as I would have liked. Her dementia had deepened after a stroke she suffered some ten years ago but she always seemed to recognize me when I would visit. I always managed to get her to smile telling her stories of misadventures I had in my youth. She suffered a second stroke (perhaps a brain bleed the distinction escapes me) and has been in and out of hospital. She left us quietly just after mother’s day and we will miss her terribly. It has been a hard spring for her and her family. Her garden remains in my thoughts with her proudly showing me around. Godspeed Aunt Josie all my love.
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