Tommy And The Garden Stakes A Short Story By Hilding Lindquist Copyright © 2006 by Hilding Lindquist Permission for

non-profit use with attribution hereby granted by Hilding Lindquist, author. Suitable for all ages ... totally "G". Author's note: If you understand the meaning behind this story, that it is the creative pursuit that makes us human, then you understand my philosophy of life. If you need a label, I am a transcendental existentialist, but it is all here in this story. –HL "Grandpa?" The young boy called out to his grandfather as he entered the garage where the old man was working. "Yes, Tommy?" "Whatcha doin'?" "I'm sharpening stakes for the garden." "How come?" "Because it's time to plant the garden." Tommy sat down on the wood toolbox against the garage wall and watched his grandfather sharpen points onto the ends of Birch sticks with a small hatchet. The old man carefully selected each stick from the unsharpened pile beside him with his left hand. He positioned it with a slight slant on the chopping block in front of him and chopped away at the end of the stick with the hatchet in his right hand. As he chopped with his right hand, he slowly rotated the stick with his left. Every so often he would pick it up and closely examine the emerging point, putting it down and chopping away, picking it up and looking at it until he was satisfied with the point. He then laid the garden stake in the finished pile on his right and picked up another stick from the original pile.

After watching his grandfather sharpen five stakes, Tommy spoke up. "Grandpa?" "Yes, Tommy?," the old man asked, pausing in his work and looking at the young boy of six with a smile. "Dad says you take too long." "Take too long doing what"? "That." "Sharpening garden stakes?" "Uh huh." "He said that?" "Uh huh." "That I take too long?" "Uh huh." "That's it? That's all he said-that I take too long?" "Not exactly." The old man's smile had broadened as he spoke with the boy. Now he watched as Tommy, with head down, played with the suspender clasps on his overalls. "Well, out with it then, Thomas. What did your dad say exactly?" There was another pause until Tommy stopped fiddling with his overalls and looked up. "Dad said it would be cheaper to buy `em then spend all afternoon makin' `em." "Well. Tommy, you can tell your dad that these particular garden

stakes have to be made. They can't be bought." There was yet another pause as the old man and the young boy looked at each other thoughtfully. Tommy was the first to break the silence. "But Grandpa," Tommy said. "Yes?" "You can too buy garden stakes." "Not these garden stakes." Again there was a thoughtful pause. "How come?," Tommy asked. "I'm making them from trees that grew in the garden." "You are?" "I am." The old man resumed his work while the young boy watched. Then Tommy spoke once more. "Grandpa?" "Yes?" "Can I make some?" The End

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