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.
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.
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.
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.