You would let me follow you around your garden, pointing out each flower and plant and showing me how they’ve grown. A favorite was the money plant, pulling apart the pieces pretending I had countless coins.
And also the mint, which grew through your giant flowerbed. I would tip toe along the rocks to reach the ones in the center while you watched cautiously, speaking warnings of snakes (you were terrified, but I don’t remember ever seeing a single one).
You would take my hand and walk with me along the apple trees. We would check each tree to see if the apples were ready yet and joke about half of worms. You encouraged my curiosity with quiet patience.
At dusk you would help me chase fireflies. One time you even tried to tell me about the new moon (which I innocently but matter-of-factly told you no, it was the same old moon).
You encouraged my creativity, and taught me that you can make art with anything around you, even if you have little except your own imagination. You showed me so much kindness and taught me that what’s inside our hearts is what matters most.
I don’t know what your life was like before I came around, but both you and your husband were artists when our paths crossed and – growing up as a creative kid – I thought that was the coolest thing in the world.
“Mrs. Williams” 8×10 gouache on canvas