The Gardeners – Part One

THE GARDENERS

(Part One)

 

©Mary M. Cushnie-Mansour

           

            Betty was celebrating her 65th birthday and her friends had bought her a landscaping certificate. “We’re tired of hearing you complain about your flower beds,” Mildred commented.

            “So, we thought we’d do something about it,” Gwen added.

            The three women had been friends since childhood, sharing both good and bad times. They’d all become teachers, and none of them had married––well Mildred almost did, but her beau was killed in a car accident just weeks before the wedding––she never totally recovered, mentally. Gwen used to say to Betty, on the side, that she thought Mildred was a bit touched in the head.

            Mildred had taught business; Gwen, math and science; and Betty, English. Mildred and Gwen always laughed when Betty mentioned she was going to write a great Canadian novel one day. 

            Betty took a sip of her tea and looked at the gift certificate. She didn’t recognize the company name. “Are these local people?” she asked.

            “Just moved into town about a month ago,” Mildred answered.

            “We got a deal,” Gwen added. “Looks like some young fellows just trying to get their business going.”

            “They showed us some pictures of gardens they’ve done in other towns,” Mildred mentioned.

            Gwen’s voice became serious. “I was a bit hesitant at first. The fellows sitting in the truck––two of them––looked a tad too shady, but the one at the door was clean cut, very polite.”

            “I was having tea with Gwen that day,” Mildred intervened. “I didn’t like the looks of the fellows in the truck either … I was peeking through the living room curtains … but, like Gwen said, the sales fellow was quite striking.”

            “Bottom line is, we got a deal; you can get your garden done Betty; and we can have some peace from your nagging about not being able to do it yourself!” Gwen set her tea cup on the coffee table. “Well, I gotta get going; Buster will be wanting out for his afternoon constitutional.” Buster was Gwen’s Cocker Spaniel; she’d left him home today.

            “I better move along also,” Mildred said. “Prince will be missing me.” Prince was Mildred’s poodle; she’d left him home, as well. Gwen and Betty couldn’t figure out why Mildred had called such a small dog, Prince, but it was her choice, and of course, since they thought she was a bit touched, they never mentioned it to her.

            Betty shut the door behind her friends, turned, and gazed into the emptiness of her home. It was times like this she wished she’d married. She heard a meowing from the kitchen––Safire, her Siamese.  Betty gathered the teacups and headed for the kitchen. She leaned over to pet Safire, who arched up and began to purr. Maybe her cat missed the dogs coming over for a visit. Believe it or not, they were the best of friends.

            “This all you want, old girl,” Betty said. The purr got louder.

            The phone rang. “Who could that be?” Betty mumbled. “The only two people, who call me this time of day, just left my house … hello.”

            “Hello, is this Betty?”

            “Yes.”

            “I’m John from Unique Gardeners. I believe your friends bought you a gift certificate to get your flower beds fixed up, and I am just calling to set up your initial appointment.”

            “Bit quick on the draw aren’t you, son?” Betty questioned.

            “Well your friends told me when they would be giving you the certificate…”

            “I see,” Betty said. “Well, I don’t want you coming over tonight; I’m too tired now and I like to retire early.”

            “Not a problem Betty … I may call you that?”

            “Of course, it’s my name.”

            “How about tomorrow morning, around 10:00?”

            “I do my shopping on Thursday mornings at 10:00. How say we make it 8:00, I’m an early riser. I’ll have my breakfast and dishes finished by then.” Betty smiled. She was testing to see how ambitious this lot were, if they could be about business early in the morning.

            “That will be fine Betty; I’ll see you at 8:00.” The line closed.

            “Well, what do you think Safire; shall we read the paper before supper?”

            Betty’s forehead creased into a frown as she read the headline.  This was the third bank robbery in a month and the police were unable to catch the culprits––the robbers didn’t even show up on the security cameras! 

“Strange,” Betty thought, “there hasn’t been a major robbery in this town for over 30 years.”

            Safire pushed her head against Betty’s hand, ripping the newspaper. “Safire, look what you did, you tore the last paragraph of the story!” The cat jumped down and walked away in a huff.

            Betty ate her supper and then took a walk to her back yard. It wasn’t huge, but it was more than she could maintain now. She started to imagine how she would like it to look. 

To Be Continued on July 18, 2012

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joan Jenkins
    Jul 11, 2012 @ 14:09:47

    Fantastic idea! Fantastic read! Waiting for the next installment . . .

    Reply

  2. Susan Noiseux
    Jul 11, 2012 @ 14:56:32

    I enjoyed “The Gardners” Mary.

    Reply

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