Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Grandmother's Garden

364 Christleton Avenue
My grandmother's garden,
round the modest little house
she lived her life in,
on Christleton Avenue
in 1950's Kelowna,
had wisteria and mimosa
and pinks,
pungent in the
slow decline of evening,
and bachelor buttons,
and roses,
roses covering the arched trellis
above the gate
I used to swing on
through the slow,
sultry summer afternoons,
everything blooming
in all the summer gardens.
In the morning
the sound of water
hitting the side of the house
woke me
as grandma
hosed everything down
before the day got hot,
and lowered the canvas awnings
like sleepy eyelids
over the windows
at the front of
the little house.
In memory,
at my grandma's,
it is always summer,
mornings scented with
fresh lake breezes
and dry grasses,
bathing suits strung out
on the line
just waiting to be
pulled down again
for the next swim.....
all the childhood pleasures
live at grandma's
in my memory,
how we would sit
smiling at each other
in her back porch
listening to the thunder
rolling in the afternoons,
the smell right after,
just as the rain started
hitting the thirsty earth
Once I swam in the lake
during an afternoon storm,
metallic scent, strange silences
the world gun-metal gray
Some mornings
I'd swing in the hammock
under the weeping willow,
behind it
hollyhocks and
sweet peas
climbed wooden stakes
and string
back where
my grandpa
parked his car.
He'd come home for lunch,
but with a kind twinkle
in his eye
and give me a dime for
the ice cream truck
when it came
Saskatoon berries bunched
beside the house -
the ladies at afternoon tea,
in hats and gloves,
all from the prairies,
ate jam mixed with memories
from the ripened fruit
In those days
there was no bridge
across the lake
When we went on a trip
my dad said
a ferry
would take us across
I was disappointed
with the big white boat
I had been expecting
a small magical being
with beating wings
and made my father smile
My grandma saved my life
when I was a child
and she did it
in the simplest way she knew:
by keeping house,
by tending her garden,
the same day after day,
routine and safe,
showing me,
child from a different world
of drink and poverty,
another way
that a life
could be.

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