United States

Growing Roots

June 7, 2017

    In a small neighborhood, Mr. and Mrs. Svensky took great pride in their impeccable lawn, bleached white fence, and shining windows. They considered themselves an example to all other neighboring families. But they had one, tiny problem. Every year, during springtime, small purple weeds would bloom in abundance throughout their yard. These hardy flowers ignored every attempt at elimination, and grew and grew. But only in the Svensky's yard. None of the other neighbors had these pesky flowers. Now, for most people, this wouldn't be a big problem, but the Svensky family, considering themselves superior, couldn't stand the idea that their neighbors lawns looked better kept than theirs. So one year, the Svenskys took it upon themselves to rid their yard of the weeds permanently. Mr. Svensky mowed the lawn every day. Mrs. Svensky pulled off each new bud. Mr. Svensky sprayed with weed killer. Mrs. Svensky planted "approved" grasses. To no avail. The purple flowers just grew thicker and thicker. 
    Mr. and Mrs. Svensky's efforts, however, did not go unnoticed by the neighbors. They began calling it the "Svensky War on Weeds", and all found it quite amusing, for none of them liked stuffy Mr. and Mrs. Svensky. Every neighborly attempt to get to know the couple had been rudely snubbed. However, as day after day passed and the Svensky lawn began to look out-of-control, the neighbors began wondering, "why do the flowers never die?" For they never did. Each petal opened and re-opened untouched by human effort.
    As the flowers flourished, the Svensky's perfect house began to diminish. The spotless white fence grew brown with each rainfall, and the shining windows lost their luster, as the Svenskys were far too busy trying to gain their lawn back to have anything to do with the rest of the house. One day, Mrs. Svensky came home and noticed how their once glistening house was now grimy and run down. She was horrified. Mr. Svensky, too, noticed how shoddy their home looked and they both began to attempt to fix the house that was now falling apart. Mr. Svensky patched the leak in the roof. Mrs. Svensky washed the siding. Mr. Svensky fixed rotting boards in the fence. Mrs. Svensky repainted the shutters. But it was too much. The Svenskys had always seen themselves as the people helping, not the ones needing help, but after a rather painful discussion, they knocked on their neighbor's doors for aid. With an air of good fun and mild surprise, the neighbors ran to help them. The windows were washed, the carpets vacuumed, the furniture dusted, the gutters cleaned, the oven scrubbed, the driveway re-done, and finally, the lawn mowed. 
    Mr. and Mrs. Svensky had never imagined the could have such fun as they laughed, ate, and played with the adults and children they had lived next to all their lives. Mr. Svensky planned a golfing day. Mrs. Svensky agreed to a spa trip. Mr. Svensky thought of having a neighborhood barbecue. Mrs. Svensky heartily agreed. 
   The day of the barbecue, Mrs. Svensky woke up to birds singing. She pulled open the curtains and gazed at her manicured lawn. Manicured lawn? Nowhere in sight were those troublesome flowers! Mrs. Svensky frowned. She felt rather lost as she had secretly grown attached to the weeds, viewing them as the reason for their improved neighbor relations. When Mr. Svensky learned of their mysterious disappearance, he too felt a distinct sense of loss. After combing over their lawn, they found one, just one, little flower left. Mr. and Mrs. Svensky decided to groom it in hopes of it re-spreading throughout their yard. For they loved the beautiful blossom that had destroyed their perfect image, but had encouraged their neighborhood friendships to bloom. They hoped with both their hearts that the flower would grow deep roots with each passing day to reflect their newly formed friendships.   

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