A Garden Fairy Story For Gus

get-attachment-3.aspxArtist-Daphne McLeod  – Presented to Gus St John

A Word of Explanation

This charming water color looks like my friend who has been given a grave diagnosis. That darn Cancer word again. The garden club ladies decided they could help by working in her garden. I wrote the following few lines as we all rally round.  SFH

In 1950 Jean Arthur played Peter Pan on Broadway before Mary Martin took over the famous role. I have never forgotten the all important question, “Do you believe in fairies? If you believe,” Peter shouts to the audience, “clap your hands,” and we all did. I count it a gift to be given a heart that believes in the mystery of things, and to believe in Never Land.

Peter Pan says, “So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land.”

It is easy for this gardener to think of a garden as Never Land where dreams are planted and wandering from one weed to another is never planned. I think of the St. John Garden; here is a happy place, where years of dreaming have paid off. I found a fairy there just to the right of a Knock Out Rose when I picked her up by mistake while pulling the weed she was sitting on. Tossing the weed in a basket, she flew straight up and looked me in the eye. I thought for a moment it was a bug and tried to brush it away with my hand. Fluttering before me, I realized that here was a garden fairy. On the one hand I was astonished, but there are so many surprises in a garden, this was one more to bring joy.

I sat down on the path and took up a conversation with this fairy. She told me she’d lived in this garden beside the yellow house for a long time. I assumed her name was rose, since that’s where I found her, but she said she was called Gretchen. “Oh, I exclaimed, I have a friend with that name. Everyone calls her Gus.”

I went on to explain my friend was not her usual 100% self, and needed a gardener’s touch of care and patience while she adjusted to her new circumstances.

“Is this why the ladies have come into the garden?”

“They want to be of help and they understand a gardeners heart when unable to tend to things that need attention.”

The fairy listened and then smiled. “Will you tell your friend, Gus, something for me?”

“I’d be happy to do that.”
“There is a wonderful line in Peter Pan where Tinkerbell says,

‘You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you, Peter Pan. That’s where I’ll be waiting.’”

August 23, 2013:  Deliver your servant, Gus, O Sovereign Lord Christ, from all evil, and set her free from every bond; that she may rest with all your saints in the eternal habitations; where with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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