My grandmother is 88 years old and sometimes doesn’t remember the things she says, but she used to give me nuggets of advice.
When I was a kid, she’d expect us grandkids to come to the farm to help with the chores and whatever else she could find to put us to work doing. You never knew if you’d be in the barn, the house or working on the landscaping. One day you could be on the wagon helping with straw and the next weeding the raised flower beds.
As I was outside weeding the other day, I thought about one of the things she’d tell me. A lady is measured by her garden. Like I said, she’s 88. She grew up in a different world than I did and isn’t shaped by today’s conventions. She was very much the housewife and took care of the children. She didn’t leave the farm much and took a lot of pride in her house and landscaping.
I’m guessing she learned about keeping a neat house from her mother. I don’t remember my great grandmother because she died when I was four. But I could see her being very meticulous about her gardening.
My grandmother was right–to a degree. I mean, if you have a neat house, it’s noticed. If you don’t…it’s noticed. I don’t know that it’s the measure of a lady, but it does show that you take pride in what you have. If you’re willing to work hard to make the garden, house or whatever the best you can make it with what you have, then that’s something. I think that’s what she meant. It’s not about having the best or newest or whatever. It’s about taking care of what you do have.
I have taken her advice to heart ever since I started my writing career. If the book isn’t up to snuff for me, then I’ll work to make it so. That might not please everyone and some might see my book as not being great, but I tried and did my best. That’s enough. Do the best you can do. So maybe I’m not measured by my garden, but I’m trying. That’s what she asked of me and I’ll do it.