Clarksdale Garden Club and an Old Nun Prayer

Poor William was the only dude at the meeting

17th Century Nun's Prayer

17th Century Nun’s Prayer

By POOR WILLIAM

Clarksdale, Mississippi

I did it! I attended a meeting of the Clarksdale Garden Club! My lovely wife, Magical Madge Marley Howell, invited me to tag along and help her film a holiday presentation by our good friend, Marilyn Trainor Storey, Mississippi Design Maven.

Don’t get me wrong, I ain’ opposed to growing stuff; gots a garden of my own, but it ain’ gonna win any Orchid or rare flower growing contests. I’ve got more of a purple thumb; I ain’ real handy, but I’m not scared of the earth either.

I plant all kinds of stuff, mostly perennials and eatables; also I chop noxious weeds in row crop fields during the summer. I’m all about the Earth; however, I probably am not a good candidate for a garden club. I am not particular enough and am the wrong gender, but I did enjoy being the only dude at the meeting. Hmmm, may not say much for me though; need to think about that one!

The most troubling thing about the meeting was Madge and I had just started a cleanse—a word not usually in my vocabulary—and I couldn’t have the exquisite, hot tomato and broth refreshment with a slice of lemon in it; nor could I have the champagne-looking libationish thingy that might have had me snoring before lunch—Delta Garden Club wimmins ain’ afraid of a little delicate, daytime fermentation—and I surely could not have Chris Card and Caroline’s most excellent offerings catered from The Ranchero; twas a hard day for a fat gardener!

During the opening ceremony, Merlyn Dotson was asked to read the prayer, and it was a fine one. She later told me that she has it framed and it came from the estate of Grace Clark—lovely, erudite, former principle of St. George’s Episcopal Day School, who was running the ship when Poor William attended as a mediocre student at best.

Grace was named well. She wrote me a couple letters when I was in basic training stationed in Fort Knox, Kentucky. Kinda neat I manage the Clark House Residential Inn and Grace was a Clark; I will have to get with my Mama to ‘splain all the relations, but she will.

Immediately upon hearing the Old’s Nun’s prayer, my ears perked up, particularly the left one. It was a reverent, humorous prayer of supplication entreating God to assist with us with not sharing everything we think we know, not complaining about how we feel, and not thinking too highly of ourselves, while recognizing and communicating the good that we see in others. Twas a nice meeting and a fine prayer indeed:

LORD, Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will some day be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody: helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest Lord that I want a few friends at the end.

     Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others’ pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

     I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessing cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

     Keep me reasonably sweet: I do not want to be a Saint – some of them are so hard to  live with – but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And, give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so. Amen

Anonymous – 17th century
Found in an old English Church

Flower decanters decorating the wine at the Clarksdale Garden Club gathering.

Flower decanters decorating the wine at the Clarksdale Garden Club gathering.

MS Design Maven Marilyn Trainor Storey speaks to Clarksdale Garden Club.

MS Design Maven Marilyn Trainor Storey speaks to Clarksdale Garden Club.

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