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Berdine's Corner

Putting the Work Forth to Reap Beautiful Flowers

by Deborah E. Dennard

berdine dennard
Berdine Dillard Dennard

Life Lessons from a Matriarch

Berdine Dillard Dennard

My mama loved outside. During this time of year, she spent the majority of her time in the yard. She would get someone break up the dirt in the back yard and plant rows of peas, collards, turnips, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, and hot peppers. She also had trees with pears, pecans, and plums and bushes with berries. But that wasn't all; she spent the other part of her time planting flowers: Impatiens, Chrysanthemums, Begonias, Caladiums, Lilies, and others that I probably don't remember. The yard was always so beautiful, and she took such pride in its appearance. Watching her made me tired. When I bought my house, she even came over to teach me how to plant flowers. While I don't get the same joy she got from the hard work, I am just as proud when I am done.

This lesson was two fold. It taught me that in order to produce beautiful things, a lot of hard work has to be done. On days that I feel like giving up, I often think of my mama. She was beautiful on the outside, but she was even more beautiful inside. She had a great life, but it wasn't always easy. As a child, because she wasn't raised with a silver spoon in her mouth, there were many times in her life when people doubted if she would do well. I asked my mama once why did she walk with her head held so high (she literally held it high). She told me that when she was a teenager, she was determined to prove the world wrong. If the world thought she should not be proud, then she made sure her head was high, so that everyone knew she was class act. She made it her business to treat other the way she wanted to be treated.

Which is another reason why the spring reminds me that whatever you sow, you shall reap. Mama taught us that Biblical truth when we were kids. If we do kind things, kind things will come to us. If we give, much more will be given back to us. She said when you plant one seed, it can produce much fruit. So if we wanted to be overtaken by good stuff, then plant good seeds. If we didn’t want to be overwhelmed by bad things, then don’t plant bad seeds.

So, as I am getting ready to go buy some red mulch, some tomatoes, Calla Lilies, Caladiums, and Begonia plants, I think of my mama. The lessons I learned from her gardening is that it takes a little hard work to produce beauty and to be careful of the seeds I plant.


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