technically, this post should have been written a few days earlier, but it’s a good story all the same. so, with a bit of poetic license, i’m going to share it with you.

a few days ago i was sitting in the garden (actually on the swing in the garden). i seem to be spending kind of a lot of time in the garden, mostly doing nothing, but wanting to at least put forth the effort of doing something

in any case, this has nothing to do with our story at hand…

one of my neighbors walked by. she is quite elderly, and usually just strolls around with her walker and checks out the scenery. (the scenery, by the way, pretty much never changes. we are in OAK PARK, of course, land of conformity…) so, she stops by our house, and a huge smile spreads across her face. like, you can actually see the smile spreading and her face lighting up. clearly, something has moved her beyond her normal stiff-upper-lip stoicism. she says, “is that a victory garden?” and then she made this noise- kind of a cross between a small chuckle and a gulp and a happy sniff.  so i said, “yes, it is! and you can have first pick of the produce!” and she just grinned and grinned and i think she seriously got a bit misty-eyed. and she just stood there looking at the garden, obviously reliving some really great memory from her younger days.

and in that moment, i understood what gardening people mean about bringing communities together.

i would have just smiled back on that as a happy memory for me- one to tell ryan the guru, cuz i know he will understand. but today, another elderly neighbor stopped and smiled and waved and said, “i just wanted to wish you luck on the garden!!” she’s not even from our block, and getting around is not easy for her, and she still made the effort to come to us in person to wish us luck! and with a big smile…

i’m telling you guys, this stuff is priceless!

we are lucky to live in a neighborhood that already has strong cohesion. we all know each other, and borrow cups of sugar, and send over extra cake, and do carpool for each other, and keep up to date on who is sick and who is having company from out of town. so my sense of community is pretty strong.

but this whole garden is really taking it up a notch.

i’m sure we have our detractors. i’m sure there must be at least one neighbor who is sitting seething in her livingroom, wondering how we had the nerve to sully the neighborhood like this. i’m not naive enough to think that a few plants can transform the curmudgeon into the fairy princess.

but i’m telling you, when someone can’t contain their happiness at the thought of our garden, well……………….

so i’m considering that V-G Day- victory in the garden day! and whatever comes to pass, and whatever trials and tribulations there will be for us along the way, i’m going to remember that we were able to do something to make people happy.

so, ryan is right- in a way, we’ve already won.