Rosie’s Secret Garden

“Garden, Rose. Garden!”

She looked up from her designated spot on the sofa, cuddled up against Mom, then put her head back down on her front paws, oops I meant feet, not paws. She had corrected me about that often enough. I didn’t want to re-litigate that discussion.

“Hey! Let’s go to the garden, Rosie. Come on. Get up!”

Rosie lifted her head again, glanced in my direction, then back at Mom. Slowly she stood up, stretched her front end, legs out straight and low and butt high in the air before she leaned forward and stretched her hind end until her legs started to shake.

“Ok, Dad. I am coming, sheesh. Give me a break. I was sleepin’ here”

I knew she wasn’t sleeping but let it go. I opened the hallway door that leads into the garage and Rosie ran past me looking back over her right shoulder.

“Hey! Dad! Let’s get a move on. You DID want to go to the garden, didn’t you?”

She pranced across the garage door as if this whole garden visit was her idea all along. One thing about Rosie you may not know. She doesn’t walk, she prances. It’s almost a bounce as she moves. When she walks, or prances, it is a thing of beauty, the embodiment of joy.

I caught up to her as she reached the side garage door. Cement steps run down the east side of the house to the back yard. Little sun shines on these steps so I have a constant battle with moss and lichen growing on the risers.

“‘Bout time,” she said and looked up at me. “I was beginning to wonder if you changed your mind.”

I unlocked and opened the door, turned left and started down. She always walks on my left when we walk down the stairs. She likes to be next to the house and not next to the bushes and black steel tubular railing that border the right side of the steps.

As usual when we reach the half-way landing she pauses and stretches her head up so I can touch her nose with my left fingertips. Then, she prances down the rest of the steps and stops at the bottom in an attack crouch. Rosie always surveys the entire back yard, in case there was a errant squirrel or foolish bird who landed in the vicinity of the garden by without considering the consequences. I think she is disappointed when there is nothing to chase.

Rosie looked back at me, as if she needed permission, then, took off running across the back yard towards the garden. You may remember from earlier comments, Rosie is a very good runner. Not just good, but fast also. Very fast. While she prances with joy, when she runs she is in ecstasy. Do you remember Eric, the lead in “Chariots of Fire?” When he ran you could see the joy in the perfect union of body and spirit. That is Rosie.

Rosie stopped by the potato barrel and said, “I thought you were going to add more soil to your potatoes, Dad.”

“I am, but I was away last weekend, remember?”

Oops. I shouldn’t have said that. It will just remind her she spent the weekend at the “Lucky Dog” with her doggie “friends”.

Rosie turned and faced me directly. I waited.

Finally, she repeated, “Add more soil to your potatoes or you won’t maximize the yield.”

“Ok. Will do. Let’s just check what else we can find.”

“Alright, just don’t forget. Also, did you notice the light green leaves on the bottom of the key lime tree? You are probably overwatering it.”

Now I am becoming concerned. Rosie certainly knows a lot, but she is not a master gardener. She is a dog. Where could she have come up with a comment like that?

“Hey! Dad! Come over here. Your snap peas need to be harvested.”

“Ok. I’ll go get a bag to put them in.”

“Wait. Let’s finish checking out the rest of the garden. I think you finally adjusted the raised garden irrigation properly. The jalapeños are improving, and all the tomatoes look good. I guess you can go get a bag and pick the peas. I will just lay here in the sun and wait for you.”

“Wait a minute. How do you know so much about gardening? You do realize you are only a dog don’t you?”

“Only?” Then, the silence was deafening.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean only. I’m sorry.”

Quietly, Rosie said, “Do you expect me to ignore the enormous number of instructional gardening videos you watch on YouTube? Did you know you talk out loud when you read the gardening tips in the newspaper? Are you aware that you talk incessantly about your garden when we come down here? How can I not know about gardening? At least one of us is young enough to still remember the instructions and gardening tips. Go get a bag for the peas.”

I turned and climbed the steps to the house wondering, “When did I lose control here? Did I ever really have control?”



About Dave Oney

Dave Oney was born mid last century in Middlebury, Vermont. He received his BS in Chemistry and worked as a polymer chemist in Massachusetts and New Jersey. He became a microscopist (someone who studies little bitty things using a microscope) and photomicrographer (someone who photographs little bitty things) before settling into a 35-year career in technical sales of scientific imaging equipment (the science of digitally recording itty bitty things, sending the image to a computer for analysis.) He designed and created a number of products contributing to this field. He is (was) proficient in several computer languages and is currently working on mastering English. After making a few more paradigm shift career changes Dave and his wife, Fran, retired and moved closer to their children and granddaughters and now live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.
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