A world of sunlight scattered by waving shocks
of orange and black kissed him through the green softness. The tiger
lilies high above his head laughed down his admiring stares like
cruel soldiers mock a little drummer boy. The little drummer boy
laughed back - and fled in terror as a huge winged beast hurtled
from one soldier's lips - buzzing angrily straight for his innocent
eyes, stinger lowered for action.
Sensible fear mixed with promises of pleasure
made every entry dared into my great-grandmother's garden a dread
full embrace of my childhood truelove: dangerous adventure. Bumble
bees busily irritated by intruders were not the only hazards dwelling
on Gigi's sacred grounds: Flowers smashed under crashing flight
of tiny feet racing bumble-death could not hide their wounds from
the majestic eyes of the Garden Master.
By the grace of God I knew her touch till
she joined a great cloud of witnesses in 1989. She was a Democrat
and a Presbyterian, a writer, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother,
great-great-grandmother; an endless snapshot taker. Little children
sometimes suspected she loved flowers more than she loved them.
Now they know better.
Her body slowly managed less garden and more
pain. Her failing eyes laughed through her tears. "If Saint
Peter says gardens aren't allowed in heaven," she informed
us and the angels listening nearby, "I won't go in."
Saint Peter, I humbly warn you: Don't tangle
with Gigi, also called Lula Wilkin, a gifted gardener and lover
of children. Best give her a shovel, a little plot of fertile earth,
some good seed, and other elements from God as required.
She made a place like heaven on earth for
a little boy who misses her. Let her turn earth into heaven again.
Missing Gigi is Copyright David M. Pickens.