Title: The Willow
Genre: General Fiction
Grandma used to joke that Grandpa had two thumbs: one black from reading the paper and one green from the garden.
"Sam,” he would say, holding up a handful of dirt. “Don't ever buy that crap they bag up and sell in stores. Plants were meant to grow in the land, and Virginia is rich. Taste it.”
Together we'd take a pinch full and place it on our tongues.
"What does that taste like?”
"Exactly, no pesticides or fertilizers necessary. Just Mother Nature, kiddo.”
I'd grin and he'd grin, and I'd feel special.
"Sam!” he called out as I rode past his house on the way home from my first day of high school.
"What's up?” I asked and jumped off the bike to walk across the dirt that made up his yard. Grandpa never planted grass. He thought it was a menace, the ultimate weed, corrupting society into thinking it was necessary.
"How was school?”
"Come on,” he said, slapping my back. “I've got a present for you.”
I followed him to the shed and waited outside as he went in. He returned, handing over a bag of dirt with a few long twigs sticking out.
"Thanks,” I said, “But what is it?”
"It is a fitting gift for a future botanist.”
I stared at the twigs, waiting for further explanation.
"Gah!” He threw his hands up it the air. “Take it home, and when you've figured out what it is, call me.”