Lita’s Garden Journey
Published by Stephanie Jeanette Bradley at Smashwords
(Originally published by same under penname Jntte Zhei, pronounced [nYettuh Jay]
Copyright 2006 (LCCN 2006927382)
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Paco loved to go out in the garden with his tatarabuela. He called her ‘Lita because ‘most everyone called her ‘buelita, for short, but his little mouth wouldn’t let him get all of that out. At the start, when he was just one year old, she thought it was because he couldn’t play the big kids’ games. But, even after he grew, he’d still follow her out to the garden, sometimes almost tripping her.
Yes, her Paco was a little strange one. He’d wake up early, just like Lita, and walk out to the garden, never too far behind. He loved to dig the first hole of a row. He loved to put in the first seeds of a row. Lita always let him, for she could see no harm in it, none at all. And she would carry extra water with them during harvest time, even though it was cooler then, so that she could wash off his favorite, fresh plants and he would eat them even before they returned home. “Gracias, Lita.”
Many times, the big kids would come home from school with trinkets and toys. They’d earned them from school for best behaviour, or quickest answers, or most helpful, or first finished. Not the same kid would win a reward. But, every kid in the village won at least a couple of toys each year. And because they had to pass by the garden to get to school, Paco always heard them or saw them happy and proud of their new trinket or toy. So, when he was three years old, he asked Lita when he could get a reward too. Lita said, “You will soon be old enough to go to school, too, Paco.” Paco said, “Will it be a long time? How long is soon, Lita?” So, that very day, Lita made Paco his very own hat to protect him from the sun when they would walk to the garden together. So, with his own little hat, he would walk the whole way. Before, she would have to tie him to her back, sometimes, especially when the sun was very hot. Her hat would shield them both. So, as he grew bigger and bigger, taller and taller, she’d make his hat wider and wider.