"These tiles are all handmade. Anyone can have a tile made to honor anyone they want. We even have a tile for Hillary Clinton," she said to me.
"The tiles are quite lovely," I replied.
"Anyone can have a tile," she repeated with a tad more firmness, "but no men allowed."
That was when I made a gentle bow, thanked her for the lovely garden and was on my way.
No men allowed?
I do not know if this is new or I am simply more aware of this, but it appears to me that we are living in a time of renewed segregation. We are pitting one group against another all the time. Whites against blacks. Rich against poor. Democrats against Republicans. Lovers of the front lawn against anti-lawn, only grow food people. Excuse my French, but most of this is pure crap. The ignition of division, mistrust and hate by a few to get everyone worked up into a frenzy and drawing lines in the sand is unconscionable. And to accomplish what? Political gain? I don’t know. But I am sick of it and the last place I want to see segregation is in a garden.
By no means am I equating this garden with what I described above. The plaque to the left explains the meaning behind the garden. In part it says, “Women’s everyday activities are seldom recognized, rarely praised.”
Hmm, I am not too sure about that. Darryl says thank you all the time when I clean, do laundry and make a home cooked dinner. I look at it this way; if I was single, I would still clean, do laundry and cook, but now I get a hug and kiss for it; not a bad deal!
Perhaps, when this garden was established, the ladies in this community felt overlooked and the history books glossed over women’s contributions. But today I see a wealth of books, lectures, movies and television shows that honor women. Instead of reminding ourselves over and over that we may have gotten a raw deal in the past, let’s celebrate that today women are praised, honored, admired and are fearless leaders. Let’s celebrate what we are, rather than pointing out what was withheld from us in the past; it’s the only way to move on and grow together.
I love the idea of thanking and honoring those who have inspired us and made us who we are. But why can I not honor my father and my grandfathers? My grandfathers were both gardeners. I am sure a bit of their love of gardening has been passed onto me. And my dad is a wanderer, a traveler, a lover of driving the open road. I am certain that my wanderlust and love of the country drive comes from him. So if it were not for him, this garden I would not have found, when I was wandering.
If anyone gets the short stick, it’s the dads, the fathers who go to work each day to provide for their families financially with incomes and insurance. And they provide emotional support, security and comfort. They mow lawns, clean gutters, take out the trash and kill the bugs. They fix broken toys and when we are older help fix broken hearts. Do we thank fathers each time they do that for us? Do we say ‘thanks dad’ for going to work, for doing all you do that we do not see each day?
It’s just a garden you say. True. And the ladies have done a lovely job with the garden and creating a beautiful space. With that said, should we have gardens just for men, descendants of Irish immigrants, German farmers, atheists, socialists, republicans and democrats? A garden can add, if only a tiny bit, to the separation of people. Why not have a garden use its powers for good and unite us? I propose gardens for all, to celebrate the good in all of us.