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My Frugal Life: Of Grandpas and Gardens

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Gardening with my Grandad a lesson in patience. When I was a child my Mother worked to put food on the table and shoes on our feet so I spent a lot of my time with my grandparents who lived across the road from us. Grandad had a milk round after retiring from the family bakery because the flour had 'got on his chest'.

Now he struggled on with gout, on his feet all day then soaking his poor swollen feet in basins of Epsom's salts each evening. Looking back I realise he was an absolute hero. I loved him at the time but now I wish he wish he was still here, mainly because I would like to tell him how great he was. Not only did he work very hard but he also tolerated my presence around his domain , his huge and fantastic garden. It was all very organised and from the unpromising looking earth he drew pounds of produce which my Nana then used to make tasty dishes.

Any way I thought I would be helpful one day by picking all the heads of the roses to make perfume, and tidy the garden up a bit too. You know that man didn't even flinch he just gently explained that apart from the ones he cut for the house he would rather the flowers stayed on the rosebushes; 'for everyone to enjoy, see?' Although he had shown no anger at all realising I had made a big mistake I went off to make a den with Nana's 100% Merino-all -the-way-from-Australia travelling rugs. I chose as the site for this edifice one of three very large and bountiful bramley apple trees that had been planted by my Great –Grandfather.

I don't know how or why I had a knife, I don't know why I decided that gouging away an area of bark about the size of a dinner plate from the tree was a good idea, or even an idea at all. When he found out what I had done Grandad didn't even ask me why I had done it he just said the tree would be 'poorly' if we didn't help it straight away.

He fetched some silver coloured paint from his shed then carefully and lovingly painted over the gaping wound my thoughtlessness had created. In a final flourish he painted a band all the way around the tree and said it was a lucky ring.

For years, every time I visited that garden I checked the progress of the scar. At first it just seemed to scab over but gradually the edges of the wound drew closer together until unless you knew what had happened, you would have never known what had happened.

Twenty years later, on the day of Grandad's funeral I searched for that wounded place and finding it put my hand over it and remembered the patient and stoical work of someone who probably had better things to do that afternoon than repair my thoughtless handiwork and the way I would always remember him and his love because of it.

As a teacher, I try my best to put this example into my own work, staying as calm and helpful as Grandad Fred always did with me when I went wrong. Oh, the shame when I fail.

By Ayesha from Kranj

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August 13, 20100 found this helpful

What a lovely story! Your granddad taught you more than he or yourself probably realised at the time.

Patience is a virtue.

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August 13, 20100 found this helpful

A touching story and I appreciate the poignant ending. Beautiful.

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August 14, 20100 found this helpful

This is the most beautiful story I have ever read on here! Blessings and thank you for a wonderful and inspiring story and I loved the ending. The part about how you, wish he was still here so you could tell him how great he is....is exactly the way I feel about my Father, who was so wonderful, but I could never find the words to say, thank you again!

Blessings,

Robyn

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August 14, 20100 found this helpful

Beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing.

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Anonymous
August 14, 20100 found this helpful

Your essay brought sweet memory crocodile tears to my eyes!

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August 14, 20100 found this helpful

Your grandfather was a rare individual, and you were so lucky to have him in your life. He was the perfect example of what love is all about, and it's so nice that you realize it. The best way to honor his memory is to pass on the lessons he taught you. I believe that is what he'd want you to do.

Thank you for sharing the story with us.

Pookarina

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August 16, 20100 found this helpful

What a good man, and a lucky child. Bless him, and bless you. I wish my grandparents were here too.

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August 16, 20100 found this helpful

What a good man, and a lucky child. Bless him, and bless you. I wish my grandparents were here too.

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August 16, 20100 found this helpful

Wonderful sweet story, brought a tear to my eyes. Just wish we could all go back and let the elderly know how much they meant to us and how much we appreciate them so much now.

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August 16, 20100 found this helpful

Thank you so much for all your wonderful, positive feedback. I feel so proud. It underlines for me the power of praise as a way to get the best out of the children I teach. I just want to write something else now!

Ayesha

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