Behind The Trees

Edith Gallagher Boyd


           Max held Daddy's little shovel, digging in the dirt.

            "That's Daddy's shovel, Max."

            "Lexie, it's a trowel, and Daddy won't mind."

            I knew Max was right about Daddy. Saturday morning he caught us eating chocolate ice cream for breakfast, and he just patted Max's head, when he took Harry for his walk.  And when Miss Dixon called Daddy into school cause Max wasn't doing his homework, Max was still allowed to ride his bike and play basketball.

            "You should wear Mommy's gardening gloves," I said as he poured the seeds into rows he had dug. He handed me Mommy's sprinkling can and asked me to pour a little water on the rows.

            "Why aren't you planting them in the regular place?"  I asked.

            "Cause I want it to be a surprise," he said, gently rolling his hand over the dirt.

            Ruby caught us behind the trees Kentucky Derby Day. Daddy was at a party up the street. Ruby was stricter than Daddy, and didn't want us that far from the house.

            She got tears in her eyes when she saw the rows of yellow on their little stems.

            "Y'all need to come back near the yard where I can see you."         

            On Flag Day, it took both Daddy and Ruby to wheel Mommy out to see the flowers my brother had planted. Max didn't even bother to change out of his Safety Patrol belt, he was so excited. When he got the belt muddy, Daddy didn't say anything bad.

            Daddy didn't say anything at all.