I was out in your garden the other day when something special happened. But I will save that story for later. For now, I want to update you on the progress of this special place.
It has really changed since my early efforts in creating it and now consists of many memorable objects. A memorial plaque bearing your name and the dates of your birth and death sits on the large center slab we found in Maryland years ago. I bought the angel at a statuary place in Pittsburg, Kansas over 20 years ago. (My mother–your grandmother–was born in Pittsburg.) Of course, a frog is present. Your sister gave me that frog some time ago and in view of the story I told at your service, I had to include it here. One of my friends told me the garden would not be complete without a frog! I also added two stepping-stones: one inscribed with your favorite Bible verse–
and the other containing a simple message about the suddenness of your passing.
Assembling all of these rocks and flat stones for the garden was no easy matter! They were all quite heavy! First, I had to pry them loose from various locations in the yard. Next, I had to lug them to their new locations here. Needless to say, I am glad they are finally in place. I rounded up all of the pine cones during a recent mountain jaunt in an effort to keep roaming cats out of your garden. Cats do not like stepping on pine cones!
And speaking of cats, where would your garden be without Melvin?
Melvin was not only your last cat, but he was also your last pet. I don’t know what happened to the real Melvin since your passing, but when I saw this creature in a Breck’s catalog, I knew I had to have him. “Melvin” is now featured in the garden, but he only appears there for pictures.
For the most part, Melvin stays inside with the other “hobbits”. Remember how you used to call me “Hobbit”? The little “hobbits” and Melvin are in the garden for pictures only. Then they all return to the house so they won’t travel all over the world and reappear in photographs in strange places.
There is a rose-bush growing in your garden. It was there long before I created your special place, and it has been blooming since May. I think it was originally a Margaret Chase Smith rose-bush, although the colors have modified over the years. I’ve never had so many roses on this bush as I have had this season. From time to time I clip them and place them on your special stone.
Your memorial plaque was an endeavor and is something I guard closely.
I found an engraver on eBay who makes these memorial markers. And, of course, this marker has a story. The marker originated in Stow, Ohio. I didn’t know where Stow was located and discovered that it is in Summit County, Ohio–an interesting place since my Grandmother Inman’s Clay-Klee ancestors settled in Summit County! She was your great-grandmother. When it was shipped, I tracked it to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania–home of your favorite football team–The Pittsburgh Steelers–and a large number of our ancestors!
Petals from the rose in this picture are now inside the heart necklace that I wear, (depicted in a photo above), along with seeds from the tree you used to climb in the back yard and petals from other roses that have been beside your plaque. The remaining petals from this special rose are now inside one of your memory books.
I have a series of solar lights in the garden, and they shine brightly through part of the night. Some of them are getting old and don’t stay on as long, so I will have to replace those from time to time.
Recently I added several artificial flower bouquets to the container holding two flags, and I also added a Service Marker honoring your service in the Army.
And now with the exception of seasonal changes, I believe your garden is fairly complete. I will be planting some bulbs here in the fall. Christmas will produce a Christmas tree and possibly a snowman. Spring will bring the arrival of a new Easter lily and the advent of a new blooming season. The columbine you gave me both bloomed beautifully in their pots this year. I hope they do as well in the future.
Now for the story I mentioned at the beginning.
I was standing in front of your garden the other day when a large yellow monarch butterfly flew in front of me and circled the hollyhocks across the yard. After one more circle, the monarch disappeared. I thought it had gone, but it reappeared and circled the yard again. The same thing happened just a few moments ago when I was standing in front of the garden, talking with several neighbors.
I think you are pleased with your memorial!