Last week, I was busily working away at my computer and fighting writer’s block while racing the clock on yet another deadline. My office phone line rang. I briefly debated whether I should answer under such duress but picked up the receiver anyway. It was one of my favorite Atlanta Master Gardening friends calling.
“Hey Joe, it’s Jerry” he said. “I just arrived in Mount Airy with 30 other Master Gardeners. We’re on our way to Virginia for a garden tour, but we’re ahead of schedule and have some time to kill. Can we come by and see your garden?” Silently my mind raced, searching for just the right response. One thing was certain; there would be no one coming to my garden today for a surprise visit! “No habla English” I reply. It didn’t work. He was on to me. I had said too much already.
Unable to come up with a reasonable excuse as to why my garden is still a mess after living in our home for nearly two years, I got direct. “NO, Jerry, you can’t come see my garden, and I really don’t have time to break away.” Feeling badly about sounding so abrupt, I started firing off all the supplemental excuses. I explained about being past deadline on my next article and how I had been out of town and need to catch up, etc. That’s when I realized I was too busy for my own good, and my priorities were way out of line.
It was true that I was behind schedule and had plenty of projects to tackle as soon at the current article was finished, and no, they could not come see my garden…or lack of one. still, here was an opportunity to take a break, drive three minutes into town (literally), spend a few minutes with some old friends, and make some new ones. I mentally took myself out of Work Mode long enough to suggest that I could break away briefly to drive into town to see them.
The tour bus was parked behind the Emporium. By the time I arrived, the 30 passengers were milling about outside, including my friend Jerry and his wife Becky. It was great to see them. After the hugs and hearty handshakes, the conversations and questions ensued. They were clearly excited about the gardens they were about to see, yet just as happy to experience those around them in my little town. One of them jokingly shared how she had done some weeding on her walk back to the bus.
Like family, no matter where I live, I’ll always feel a connection to my gardening friends back home. There will always be work, but few are the spontaneous opportunities to see good friends and create memories that will last a lifetime. Thank goodness, at least for this day, I stopped long enough to smell the roses.