I felt crestfallen when I learned the story of Geo.W(ashington) and the cherry tree was a myth.
But like many a good story, it is founded in a piece of truth. The “foundation” of young George’s story is that the society of his time valued truth-telling and the press, no different than now, wanted to cast a specific light on George–at least it was favorable–according to the values of the times. Fast-forward to the end of his presidency: In George’s farewell address, he spoke about the problem political party systems would be for the United States. I was not–and I admit it to be true–the best history student. This was because I thought history class should be studied more like a novel (thus I was bored) and I was weary of my teacher telling me I was not as smart as my two older brothers who were as into history as I was into my dance classes, music and being a teenaged girl. His comment did not encourage me to change my attitude. What I lacked in history smarts I made up by being a whole lot cuter than my brothers (wink), by paying attention and remembering a few key things–thus I remember Geo.W’s farewell address. I did look it up just the same and discovered my memory was accurate (you can read more if you like on CNN’s webpage by clicking this link.) What–did Geo. have a crystal ball? Over the top of his newspaper, my grandfather would call out, “Jeannie, “politicians are as crooked as a dog’s hind leg.” Which meant I needed to know something about both dogs and politicians. Mostly I prefer the company of dogs–they can’t help their anatomy and most seem genuinely interested in making me happy. Tail wagging, sloppy tongues are free.
I am going to get on my soapbox now and say why I think there should be a “garden party” platform and why such a candidate would make an excellent public servant (notice I avoided the term “politician.) You may interpret “garden party” any way you wish:
1. Gardeners and garden lovers are concerned with making the world a more beautiful place and they are willing to do the work to make this happen by using a mix of science and art in their tool arsenal;
2. They often plant things they may never live long enough to enjoy fully–like trees. They act in ways that enhance the lives of future people even if they can’t see the benefit for themselves;
3. They often engage in activities that others do not want to do–in other words, the “dirty work,” and they’re not afraid of it–or of a few bugs or of compost;
4. They grow things that are useful–food and fruit–and they are most willing to share their abundances;
5. They gather seeds from their successful plants to continue to grow a strong heritage;
6. The quality of life, the health of the entire garden community, is more important than the care and maintenance of a single, problematic, drama-queen specimen;
7. Natural resources–like water, forests, prairies–are valued –along with all the millions and millions of creatures seen and unseen within it as they make up the larger gardens and landscapes of the world, that help feed us, clothe us and provide air that we breathe.
8. Gardeners also care deeply about other gardeners and the work that they do collectively.
9. I think one of my favorite garden writers, Beverley Nichols, sums it up best when he wrote, (from Green Grows the City) “…we both know, you and I, that if all men were gardeners, the world at last would be at peace.”