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plant,” I answered. We’ve given away beans left and right this week. We snapped and blanched some and froze enough to feed an army over the long winter months. I took a marker and labeled each freezer bag, “Johnny’s Green Beans.” And the plants are still producing … I wandered back into the garden on Sunday evening, trying to finish the last task on Johnny’s earthly to-do list. After I plucked the last weed from the okra, I turned on the sprinkler and let it shower the tiny plants with sulfury well water. The garden seemed so empty without him, but at the same time, it’s bursting with life — beans, peas, okra, squash, tomatoes, peppers, that row of showy zinnias, deer tracks, and the song of a mockingbird. They are echoes of Johnny’s long, illustrious life. That garden is living proof that if you take the time and tend to things, they will grow, and you will be rewarded for your hard work and patience.

I stood at the garden’s edge waiting for the lump in my throat to go away, but it wouldn’t go away. Days later, the lump is still there when I swallow.

Johnny’s death is still fresh, and we are all still trying to process it all. We are grieving, but we are grateful for the time we had with him. We’ll continue to tend his vegetables; we’ll think of him often and find ways to honor him; and we’ll bask in the glow of each cherished memory of our gentleman gardener, who left footprints on the sandy soil as he took his last steps in the garden before taking his first steps into the great beyond.

Recent Death Notices