708. Just inside the gates

720gates

Andrew had always been a decent sort of a bloke; nothing fancy at a party; pretty quiet in fact. He was married and had three kids. The kids had all grown up and left home. Andrew was a practical man. He always gave a hand, always volunteered. But no one took much notice of him. He liked to quietly potter in his garden.

He was fairly religious; not too much; but he said his prayers, and tried to be kind. He always prayed that he wouldn’t go to Hell but would sneak into Heaven, even if it was just inside the gates as if he had just made it; at the bottom of the pile, so to speak, but in Heaven nonetheless. He would be happy to be happy, but he didn’t have to be the happiest of all.

Then Andrew died, as all are wont to do. He quietly made the rounds of everyone he knew. No one seemed to be that pleased to see him. They shook his hand politely and wished him a good day. It was the way Andrew preferred. Nothing fussy.

Then he had an interview with God.

“What would you like to do?” asked God.

“Maybe I could help out in the garden or something,” said Andrew.

“You barely made it through to Heaven,” said God, “so maybe you can look after the garden just inside the gates.”

Andrew did that. He quietly gardened away. He enjoyed it. He never realised that everyone who entered gasped in astonishment:

“Oh my goodness! Look at the garden! So this is Heaven!”

88 thoughts on “708. Just inside the gates

                    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

                      How wonderful to be the subject of a poem by Cynthia Jobin! I can just see you, Cynthia, taking a break from your beatific garden, sitting on Cloud 8, playing a little harp, and singing your song!

                      Liked by 3 people

          1. Bruce Goodman Post author

            Netflix keeps jamming. The tele itself is fine. It’s my new $5 wristwatch I can’t work. It does everything but tell the time. The instructions are presumably Spanish: INSTRUCCIONES PAR LINEA DE RELOJES 3 ATM – so I can’t work it out.

            Liked by 1 person

            Reply
      1. Shubha Athavale

        You are a magician with your plants Bruce, I can tell from the photos of your kumera!
        There’s a story teller by the name Bruce
        Who has put his talent to good use
        With his tales and his plants
        And the poems he chants
        There’s not much I can say
        Except he makes my day

        Liked by 2 people

        Reply
  1. arlingwoman

    I like this story and the fact he squeaked in and got what he wanted and provided vast pleasure to new entrants. Also that his friends were glad to see him, but not too glad…what a hoot. Have you read Mark Twain’s Letters From the Earth? You might enjoy them.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      No – I should try. I tried once to read Huckleberry (or was it Sawyer?) and couldn’t understand a word! It was easier to read the Yorkshire accent in “Wuthering Heights” than to read the Twain dialect!!

      Like

      Reply
        1. Cynthia Jobin

          I’m a big fan of Mark Twain—one of the wittiest people ever. I guess most people only know him from Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, because those are most often presented in schools; but much of his other work, and the transcripts of his talks when he travelled and gave “lectures” are very entertaining in their insight and wry humor.

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
          1. Bruce Goodman Post author

            I must read the other works. I got completely bewildered by the “black” dialect in the other works. Have you seen the real live movie of Twain walking outside his house smoking a cigarette? I think it’s on youtube somewhere and only a recently rediscovered bit of photography.

            Liked by 1 person

            Reply
          2. arlingwoman

            His trip through Europe is pretty darn funny, too. I think Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are presented to students too early and the result is that Twain guy doesn’t get read as much as he might. It’s kind of like Moby Dick (which I think is the Great American Novel, 19th C). It’s so wide ranging and mystical and then there’s the 50 page treatise on ‘the cetaceans.’ And this gets introduced in 7th grade…

            Liked by 1 person

            Reply
            1. Bruce Goodman Post author

              I’m a great fan of American authors – but Huck and Sawyer I couldn’t comprehend, and Moby must have been the most boring book I’ve ever read!! I guess it’s like reading Jane Austen; I never knew how funny she was until I was older. I should try these authors again. Of course, they’re not taught in New Zealand schools – usually.

              Liked by 1 person

              Reply
              1. arlingwoman

                Read Moby Dick with the Transcendentalists in mind and their whole effect on American culture and the pre-Civil War intellectual ferment–Emerson, Thoreau, the western expansion, the world a strange, still unexplored place. I think the new Great American novel is Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue. Same sweep, same social ferment. Anyway, I think lots of people don’t get Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. They are part of a very particular place and time, and if you don’t get most of that, then the humor is going to bypass you (perhaps in a great swath of dialect). I found Moby a revelation when I read it as an adult.

                Liked by 1 person

                Reply
                  1. arlingwoman

                    Yes, with its parts named after them. A friend of mine used to buy piano pieces he wanted his wife to play and he bought that one once and sat it on the piano. It sat there for a week and one night she rolled over in bed and said “If you think I’m going to learn that, you’re out of your mind.” Apparently Ives gave instructions at one point that you could use a board to hit all the keys if your hand wasn’t big enough.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    Reply
            2. Cynthia Jobin

              I totally agree with you, Lisa. Some of the wonderful “classics” of American Literature (and probably the same for British) are presented to young minds incapable of truly relishing them; so they regard them as the boring, tedious obligations they are made to be. This is why I enjoy the leisure of re-reading, these days….so much can be finally understood and loved through the re-reading of worthy books. (In my case it leaves little time for “hot-off-the-press” books. But them’s the vicissitudes!

              Liked by 2 people

              Reply
              1. arlingwoman

                Well, you can’t read everything. If books were chocolate, I would weigh 400 pounds. I’m still reading classics I missed for one reason or another while popping modern novels like truffles. Sometimes I come across a turn of phrase or a way of expressing something that just knocks my socks off. Just told Bruce the new Great American Novel is Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue. Amazing prose. Too bad we can’t all meet as a book club!

                Liked by 1 person

                Reply

Gentle thoughts and expressions of astoundedness are both gratefully accepted.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s