“What I’m looking for is a groundskeeper Mr. Page. Not a gardener. I’m not sure you’d be up to the task.”
Arthur fixed the man with a piercing blue stare. “I can tell you for a fact Mr. Hollis that you’ll never find anyone as capable as I am.
If it’s grounds-keeping you’re after well it seems to me that what you really need out there is a good tidying up. You’ve got weeds running riot.
The way those things grow is they send shoots underground. If you keep treating them the way you are you won’t have any grass left to cut. I can ride a tractor mower as well as anybody else.
And it seems to me you have enough machinery to make the other jobs easy enough. What I’m saying Mr.
Hollis is that I can take care of the grounds for you but I can also make them look pretty too.”
Abe Hollis leaned back in his chair. He talked a good talk, he’d give the guy that much. He drew in a deep breath and let it out again. “The truth is Mr. Page I need the help.
If you think you can do the job, I’m willing to give you a try. How about you start on Monday? You can see Peg out front and she’ll give you all the paperwork” He held out his hand.
Arthur stood up and shook the man’s hand and said with a grin, “you won’t recognize the place.”
“One more thing,” said Mr. Hollis. “You will be discreet won’t you? Keep things under your hat?”
“Absolutely,” he said. “I am the soul of discretion.”
Arthur walked the three blocks back to his apartment whistling. He felt wonderful. He’d only applied for the job to be near the woman he loved.
And now he would see her at least once every day. He knew where to find her, out in the back section near that old crabapple tree.
He’d fallen in love with her the first time they’d met. And he’d been besotted ever since. She seemed too good for him, too good to be true really.
They say there is a lid for every pot and he’d found his in Lilly-Belle Morrisey. He didn’t know many men as lucky as he was.
Of course her father had something to say about it. But then he’d probably do the same if he had a daughter. She was the apple of his eye. That much was for certain.
Arthur chuckled to himself. He’d forgotten to ask how much the job paid. Oh well, it didn’t matter really. Not when he knew she’d be there.
Think how surprised she’d be if she knew what he’d done, he thought.
He spent the weekend running errands. He got supplies to make himself a lunch and a good pair of coveralls. His boots would have to do.
They fit his feet just right and anything new was liable to give him trouble. He didn’t want to be getting blisters his first day.
When Monday rolled around Arthur got out of his bed early. He was as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. Although he was certain that by the time the work day ended he’d be sore all over.
It didn’t matter. As long as he was near Lilly nothing else mattered.
He decided to stop at the little flower shop on the way to work and pick up a bunch of baby’s breath for Lilly.
Of all the flowers in the world she picked the one most people thought of as filler. But they were her favourite.
With the flowers in one hand and his lunch bag in the other he climbed the hill to work.
He stopped by the desk and saw Peg and she had all his forms ready to go. “Mr. Hollis said you’re to stop in the workshop and talk to Hank,” she said.
“He’ll get you set up for the day and show you where to start.”
“Thank you, Peg. I just need to drop these off if that’s ok,” he said holding up the bunch of tiny flowers.
“Of course,” she said with a smile.
Arthur went back out into the morning sun. It was going to be a warm one. He followed the path from the main building and down around the pond and over the little bridge to the far corner.
The crabapple tree was still in bloom. He could smell it from where he was. The grounds sure did look like they needed a little attention. He’d have them ship shape in no time.
When he got to the back corner his heart gave a little lurch as it always did.
He put a hand out using the trunk of the tree for support and knelt down to put the flowers in the little vase embedded in the headstone. Then he ran his fingers over the letters carved there.
Beloved wife of Arthur
Mother to Samuel, Adam and David
‘Til We Meet Again’
He blew her a kiss. “I’ll see you at lunch sweetheart,” he said.
They’d spent nearly 50 years together. He missed her but it wouldn’t be long until he saw her again. In the meantime he felt it would do both of them good to be near one another.
He rose slowly, his knees weren’t what they used to be, and headed over to the shop to see Hank.