When a Stick is So Much More Than a Stick

A few months back I wrote about Cooter wanting real estate.  “Real estate’s where it’s at, Mama.”

One of my dear friends, Renea Winchester, decided to send him just that.  She boxed up some special dirt and other treasures and sent them down the road to us.

Bless her.

He was so excited to have a package WITH HIS NAME ON IT and then to open it and find “land”–he was beside himself.

I’ve always said, if you want to win me over, love on my children.  If I didn’t already love Renea, that surely would have sealed the deal.  As it was, I teared up and gave thanks for such a special friend that modern technology and social media has allowed me to have.  We have only met face to face once, but I adore that sweet woman.

Cooter, happy to have his land, left me to go through the rest of the box.  And in it, I found a stick.  A stick with a really long root and a wet paper wrapped around it.  When I unwrapped the stick, there was even a little worm that had hitchhiked along.

I. Love. It.

As recommended I prepared to plant him (yeah, anthropomorphism strikes again–it’s a boy).  I found an old pot that had belonged to Mama.  I added some soil, gingerly placed my stick in the “ground” and then finished covering with more soil.  I watered, and I watched.  My friend wrote that she had been praying over that stick.  So I knew he was special.  Just standing there over him, having given him a new home, I had a sense that this stick was precious.

But I had no idea how much.

I started calling it my Hope Plant.  Every morning Cooter and I went out to my roost on the back porch and checked, hoping to see some sign of growth on the little guy.  I thought I saw tiny green buds coming up, but then it could have been my imagination.  Until one morning when this welcomed us.

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IMG_7528Have you ever seen such a lovely shade of green?

My friend assured me that my hope plant loves the sun.  So I made sure that either he was sitting in the sun in my roost or out on the deck bannister, enjoying all the sunshine.  Each day we became more excited about his growth.  I shared these pictures on Facebook and Instagram, and folks were guessing what kind of plant it was.  Renea commented and said it would soon make its identity apparent.

And still he grew.  He is the happiest of fellows to be around really.  That green.  From a stick.  A miracle.

Then last night, my friend Renea surprised me by writing the story of the Stick–“Sprouting Mr. Coleman’s Stick.”

Oh y’all.  It’s the story of my Stick and his people.  So to speak.

I went out and sat with my stick, which isn’t a stick so much anymore and I wept over the beauty of friendship and loving old people and old things and coffee can planters and older gentlemen who carry their writings everywhere they go.  And I gave thanks for all of those things and for a friend who paid attention and knew that a stick would be a most treasured gift.

To know and be known.

My heart is full.

Here is my stick, my precious gift from Renea, a hand-me-down from Mr. Coleman, resting and relaxing and doing all the hard work of growing out in the beautiful, much-loved sun today.

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Both the “stick” in the foreground and all in the background speak to community and friendships and tradition and love. Both were gifts to me, and both bring me immeasurable joy.
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Glowing in the sunlight in my Mama’s old pot sitting on a new bannister. My heart is full.
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Perfectly beautiful green leaves where once there was only a stick…..such a miracle and such handiwork by our Creator.
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The place where the first bud we saw grew. Amazing!
I love this Hope Plant so very much.  Because of who gave him, because of his story, and because I love baby plants and green was my Mama's favorite color.  She loved all the little things too.
I love this Hope Plant so very much. Because of who gave him, because of his story, and because I love baby plants and green was my Mama’s favorite color. She loved all the little things too.

Tonight I’m thankful for my friend Karen Spears Zacharias who “introduced” Renea and me one day on Facebook.  I’m thankful for Renea and her stories and her heart that is bigger than the whole outdoors–a place she loves to spend her time the most.  Please go read her story about the stick and where he came from here.  She is my kindred spirit, loving the old ways and the old things.  You can find more of her wonderful writing and stories of how it used to be here or ask for one of her books at your local independent bookstore.

Because I love Renea and I think everyone should read her books and in honor of Earth Day, I will be giving away a copy of her latest book, Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches here on the blog.  All you have to do is comment here with your favorite plant, and if you feel like it, share why it makes you smile.   Also be sure to like her Facebook page here.  She shares all kinds of stories and wisdom and pictures of baby goats.  I KNOW, RIGHT?  BABY GOATS, ’nuff said.  I will most likely have Cooter or our Princess randomly choose a winner Wednesday morning, since we’ll have a little time then.  So we’ll close the entries at 11:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday, April 28.

May you all find someone to share the gift of friendship with today and tomorrow and all the days after that.

Love you Renea, and love to all.

Me and my sisterfriend Renea at her book launch last fall. She's the adorable one with the heart of gold and the green thumb.
Me and my sisterfriend Renea at her book launch last fall. She’s the adorable one with the heart of gold and the green thumb.
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21 thoughts on “When a Stick is So Much More Than a Stick

  1. Oh Goodness, he’s growing into a real live tree! I had to cut the top just to get it in the box. Here is why I am so happy; this little stick, in all the years he has been at my place, has never grown as much as in the picture on your blog. I think Mr. Coleman and your people have been talking to the Good Lord about this little stick. It may be a few years before he makes any figs, or, he may surprise us all and produce a bounty. I am so happy that I listened to the voice. And thank you for giving away a copy of Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches.

    1. I am happy too, Renea. He brings me such joy. They must all be handling it from up there, because I’ve done nothing but put him in the dirt. 🙂 It is my pleasure to share your wonderful book. I wish I could send one to everyone. ❤ Love you.

  2. martina white

    I have given away lots of plants like this, mainly gooseberry bushes. I love gooseberries but not a lot of people know of them. You can easily propagate them the same way your stick was. A little tlc goes a long way!

    1. TLC is crucial to so many things growing, isn’t it? What a wonderful thing you are doing, sharing your favorite plant with others. Thank you for reading and sharing your story. Please come back and visit again soon.

  3. Oh, I have tears after reading that! Renea just is one of the dearest ladies I haven’t met yet. We have many “mutual” friends on Facebook so I’m sure one of these days we’ll get to meet.

    My favorite plant is the daffodil. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved them. My Aunt Nettie had a whole backyard full of them. Her backyard was a hill straight up to the back alley than ran behind her house. The only that would stay and grow was daffodils so she planted a few dozen when she and Uncle Charlie bought the house after WWII. Buy the time I came along in the 70’s, her few dozen had turned into hundreds. I knew it was spring when Aunt Nettie’s backyard glowed with daffodils. She always let me pick as many as I wanted. She would tell me that it made her happy to see me enjoying them so much. Every day, if there were daffodils blooms, I’d pick a handful to put in a mason jar on her table. I wish she had lived long enough to see my daughter who was named after her and already (at age 6) loves daffodils as much as her namesake.

    1. Renea was one of the dearest ladies I’d never met for quite some time too. I finally decided to make it happen when she had her book launch. What a wonderful day that was. I do hope you will get a Renea hug one day soon. Thank you for sharing your story. I loved it. When our Princess read it, she misunderstand at first and thought your daughter’s name must be Daffodil. 🙂 What a lovely memory, and what a beautiful way to honor your sweet Aunt Nettie. What would we do without our precious Aunts? You are one of the winners of a copy of Renea’s book. I will be contacting you soon to get your mailing address. Thank you for reading. I do hope you will stop by and visit again soon.

  4. Oh “Modernmia” you and I should (or maybe could) be sisters. First, I had an Aunt Nettie as well. And, it is world wide knowledge I adore daffodils.
    Hugs, Renea

  5. carolyemola

    I love roses! Just went outside over the weekend and cleaned around them, fertilized them, and gave them a healthy dose of Epsom Salts. Time to save my banana peels for them – they love the potassium!

    1. I love roses too. I have a yellow one I planted on my Great Aunt’s birthday in memory of her–yellow, her favorite. I love the suggestion of the banana peels. I will be trying that–thank you! Thank you for reading and for sharing your favorite. Please come visit again soon.

  6. Barbara J. Dover

    I love tomato plants/vines! First of all, I love planting them from seeds and watching them germinate and grow with their hairy little leaves and vines. I love watching them grow taller with more and more leaves and branches developing from the main vine. I absolutely love the smell of the leaves. I would love some form of home fragrance with that special scent; especially for use in the winter as a reminder that spring and summer will come, and with the season change, the tomatoes will come as well. I love watching the plant grow, the blossoms come out, and then the fruit developing from those blossoms. I love picking a ripe tomato from the vine, and eating it right then and there. There’s also nothing quite like the taste of a tomato sandwich: summer in each bite. I love saving seed from tomatoes at the end of the season and then starting the cycle again.

    1. I love the smell of tomato plants too! I remember Daddy loved fresh slices with Mama’s coleslaw. And a tomato sandwich–oh the memories. Thank you for a trip down memory lane, and thank you for reading. I love your story so much. Please come back and visit again soon.

  7. Nancy Baxter

    Love the story of the hope plant. I have recently started growing Hellebores. I think they are beautiful plants. Anything that can bloom in January is a terrific plant. When you see the blooms in winter it really makes you feel like there is hope for spring coming

    1. I love your image of the blooms in winter. They do lift the spirit, don’t they? I think that’s why camellias delight and intrigue me. They dare to venture out when it’s still so cold, bless their hearts. Thank you for reading and for sharing about your favorite. Please come visit again soon.

  8. What a wonderful “follow-up” to Renea’s story about Mr. Coleman’s stick. I love that you named it the hope plant. I’m hard pressed to name my favorite plant as I love almost all things green [excluding marigolds]. All jasmines (especially night-blooming) and daffodils, but especially lilacs. When I was growing up in the Texas Panhandle they were always the first sign of spring. Their fragrance was wonderful and large, older stands were a fun place to play or hide out.

  9. Your blog post brings a tear to my eye. I know how much tragedy Renea went through last year, yet she had the time to send you the Hope Plan–her generosity leaves me gobsmacked–what beauty in both Renea and the plant. If I had to pick a favorite plant, I would say a raspberry or blueberry bush because they feed us, the animals…..

    1. Thank you for reading and for your sweet words. Yes ma’am, I am humbled by Renea’s kind heart and generosity. She is a love and a treasure. Gobsmacked–what an awesome word. I love the fruit-bearing plants too. I once grew blueberries as part of a 4-H project. Mama hand embroidered blueberries on my shirt for my presentation. Wow. Thanks for stirring up that memory. I appreciate that. You are one of the winners of Renea’s book. I will be contacting you for your address. Please come back and visit again soon.

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