Missing Gigi

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.

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