Garden Gazette

“In Gavin’s Garden you will learn how to see what you don’t expect to find.”

© Copyright 2010 Gavin’s Garden is the exclusive property of Patty Stowbridge Gough

Any use of  drawings, text, photographs may not be used or copied or duplicated without written permission from the author or photographer.

Any questions pertaining to this web site can be sent to  Towerscope Video & Film, webmaster Jonny Cates | User Agreement | Privacy Policy


“In school you’re taught a lesson & then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.”

Welcome to the third issue of the Garden Gazette! In short, it’s still is a short issue, but slowly getting bigger.

So feel free to share it with others. Better yet, submit a few of your own words about what ideas grow in

your garden or your neighborhood. Email it to the author, and as long as it’s family content and contains

no salted-slug language, we’ll post it. And remember; In the magic of the garden grow the seeds of thought!


Warming, Cool, Breezy

Gavin’s Garden is Starting to Grow!

by Jonny Cates/photographer


Well, it seems forever that I’ve been driving by that North 6th vacant lot next to Patty’s house, but just never really paid it much attention. That is, until now. Except for the usual standard johnsongrass and giant weed monsters and a few Taco Bueno cups, it was just like any other ol’vacant lot. Insignificant.

But recently, after I finished

an afternoon photo shoot, I  stopped by before sunset to

say hello. I was pleasantly surprised to see a dramatic change in the landscape.

Not only were the few

Sequoia-sized weeds gone, but a small colorful garden had sprung-up over night, and a sprinkler system had been installed that would nurture the now young carpet of grass.

Real grass!

You know, the kind that’s in green pastures. It almost made me wanna lie down.

Instead, I got out of my hot car with camera in hand and started clicking away before the sun disappeared. Upon investigating the new garden area, I soon discovered veggies and flowers alike, happily sharing the same home.

Growing next to the robust okra and tomatoes were several variety of strong, healthy flowers, standing tall and proud, all of them preparing for a night’s sleep. Patty was traversing the lot with a ‘throttled-up’ water hose, giving them (and every other living thing) a final cool down. And that famous aromatic herb rosemary was sprouting it’s spikey needles, just begging someone to squeeze one of them.

So Patty pinched a clump between her thumb and finger, and proffered my camera lens a sniff.

Wow!  What an herb! Or is that ‘erb’? I can never
remember. Never the less, it’s a lovely fragrance. But plants of all sorts seemed to be taking over this x-weed monsters’ domain.

And this time - the good plants. Don’t get me wrong, weeds probably have their rights, too these days. Somewhere. Just not here.

But I must confess, I’ve not a green thumb on either hand, so most of the beautiful flowers were not known to me (much less the weeds) but many were indeed attractive colors. Orange and yellow, to blue and purplish tints, they all beckoned for attention which they rightfully deserve. I even noticed that a rogue bee (beeing-busy) had apparently added this corner address to his daily route of flower-hopping.

More flowers, more nectar, more honey.

Lastly, smack-dab in the middle of the lot, there was a cluster of young mesquite trees next to a kangaroo rock sculpture (that recently got stolen). Even these young trees seemed to know something was going on. They seemed to be fighting for the ‘pole position’ for the undisputed shade provider. There was already evidence to whom that claim would go. I was told that cats had already adopted this spot to escape the Texas sun. But I’ve lived here long enough to know what mesquite trees are capable of - and the sun. So I’ll go out on a limb and say that one day there could be enough shade for a family of, lets say...

kangaroos - if they should happen to wander by, that is.

To say the least, I became inspired. Enough so to write this, and take a few snaps. After all, I, for one, do not own a vacant lot, but do possess a camera and pencil.

So the next time you are on a Sunday drive, take note of what beauty might be springing up in an ol’ vacant lot near you.

It could be Gavin’s Garden.



This Months

Top 5 Forgotten

Facts in History             



Beatles' "Meet the Beatles!," album goes #1 and stays #1 for 11 week


Philosopher Socrates sentenced to death


USS Maine sinks in Havana harbor, cause unknown, 258 sailors die


1st Teddy Bear introduced in America, made by Morris and Rose Michtom


President-elect Franklin Roosevelt survives assassination attempt

Dec. 7, 2012

Deep Water
It’s lonely in deep water.
People seldom venture out.
They love the shore and shallow,
To live and wade about.
Deep water does not have the beauty;
No sparkling sands, no shells, no coral reef.
Deep water does not insure one’s safety;
No earth beneath one’s feet.
What one does find in deep water,
Is also found within deep minds:
adventure, mystery, great depth,
and challenge to discover 
what you can not leave behind.

                                    - by P.S. Gough © 2010

Poetic Thought Corner



“Why not send 
us one of your favorite poems? “

“It can be original, or one of your 
very own!”

    Go for a walk today!

                    Volume I                                   No. 4                                      Monthly                                Abilene, Texas                               December 7, 2012

-Tom Bodett

I have been out working in the real Gavin’s Garden – the one with flowers, weeds, grasses and trees.  
It has been very hot out there, 100° in the shade!  Normally, I have the company of “Tom”, a kangaroo rock sculpture made out of Lueders limestone.  You may have seen him sitting under the mesquite tree in the center of the garden, looking to the morning sun, and guarding over things. 
Unfortunately, while I was inside cooling off last Sunday, three men kidnapped our kangaroo.  It took all three of them to overcome our one!!

Sunday afternoon, at 1:30 PM, three men, in a dark grey Dodge Dakota pick-up truck, license plate # 422-3?B, backed-up into the garden, loaded up our kangaroo, and drove away – leaving only their tread marks across the grass.  
The police have not caught them – yet.  Our case # is 10-89014.  
If you think you might have a clue to our kangaroo’s whereabouts, shoot us an e-mail books@gavinsgarden.net

Thank you,

BROAD DAYLIGHT HEIST! Sunday, August 1, 2010.

Shown above is “Tom,” a kangaroo rock sculpture stolen from Gavin’s Garden

on or around 1:30 PM. Any whereabouts of Tom (or his remains) - please send

an email to books@gavinsgarden.net

photo by Jonny Cates

Remember: Crime doesn’t pay! 

What goes around – comes around!   Life is like a circle!   Let's bring our Roo back!!   Eric's Mom

news from the garden

Our Kangaroo is Still Missing.

They did not steal a pile a rocks,

They stole our icon Kangaroo.


They may escape answering to the rule-of-law,

But they will to answer to you-know-Who!!


Bring me Kangaroo back, boys!

Bring me Kangaroo back!


Yes, bring me Kangaroo back, boys,

to save the soul that you lacked!

“A kleptomaniac is a person who helps himself because he can’t help himself.”

- Henry Morgan/radio humorist from 1932


“Spring Has Sprung...hopefully.”

This Place Matters

by Patty Stowbridge Gough/author


Just south of Gavins Garden there is a big two-story historical house.  The house was built to resemble the mansion in the movie, Gone with the Wind.  Once a year, I’m told, the man who built and owned the house would open up his home to his friends and admirers.  He and his wife would dress-up like the characters, Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler, and entertain their guests.  It was a very grand home and event.


As the years went by and the couple died, the house changed ownership a number of times and began to deteriorate, along with the neighborhood.  Many repairs were needed. The paint was peeling, the old wiring splitting, old galvanized pipes were corroding, and the foundation was shifting.  Then two years ago, the last occupants carelessly left a cardboard box of hot coals on the wooden back porch.  Needless to say, the grand old house became a billow of smoke and flames.  The roof and back of the house were ruined.  It looked like “The End” of the movie icon.  Those who remembered the house in its glory days were heartbroken.   



But then a group of people, the Abilene Preservation League, came to the rescue.  They found the means and struggled through the mire of titles and paperwork to buy the house and are restoring it.  It looked so hopeless for so long, but now the progress is visible.  Hanging on the security fence that surrounds the house, is a big banner that says, “This Place Matters!”  Every time I read that sign it resonates through me.  This Place Matters! 

Sometimes we need a big reminder, to the popular questions, “What’s the point?”, “Why not just give up?”

Say it out loud, “This Place Matters!”, and then define your “place”.  Your Home? Your Country?  Your Place in Time? 

You Matter!


There was great trouble in the white castle that stood at the top of the hill. The huge fire that had burned in the castle kitchen for years had suddenly gone out, and no one seemed to be able to light it again.

It was deep winter outside. The hill was white with snow, and the fountains in the castle garden looked like tall ladies dressed in white cloaks. From all the castle turrets there hung long icicles, and inside the castle, where the walls and the floor were made all of stone, it was so cold that every one was blowing on his fingers and saying that something must be done at once about starting the fire in the kitchen.

It had been the warmest and the most useful fire in the castle, always bright and glowing and cheerful. It made the big kettle sing, and it cooked the food, and painted pictures in the fireplace for the little Prince, who always sat in front of it before he went to bed. Some said that the fire needed a special kind of fuel to keep it burning, and others said that it had gone out because it was such a hard, cold winter. Still others said that the castle folk were quarreling so over matters of state that they made the castle too cold for any fire to burn. The King blew the bellows, and the Queen wrapped up the little Prince in a fur coat, and the Cook piled on more logs, but still the fire would not burn.

"Go down the hill road," the King at last commanded the Court Messenger, "and wherever you see a bright fire burning in one of the houses, go inside and ask for some coals to bring back to the castle. It may be that we can light our fire in this way."

So the Messenger, with a great iron lantern for holding the coals, started out in the bitter cold.

"A light for the castle fire!" he called as he went. "Who will give me some coals with which to light the castle fire?"

As the Messenger went on his way, a great many people heard him and they all wanted to have a share in lighting the fire at the castle. Some thought that to do this would bring them riches.

"Here are glowing coals for you," said Gerald, whose father kept the forest; "and tell the King that we want as many gold pieces as there are lumps of coal in return, and some extra ones if he will add them."

So the Messenger put Gerald's red coals with the tongs inside his lantern, and he started back to the castle. He had gone only a few steps, though, when he saw that the coals had turned cold and gray, so he had to throw them beside the road and search farther.

A bright light shone from the fire in Gilda's house. Gilda's father was one of the King's guards and when she heard the Messenger's call, "A light for the castle fire!" she opened the door and asked him to come in.

"Fill your lantern with our coals," Gilda said, "and they will surely light the fire in the castle. Tell the King, though, that in return for the coals he must make my father Captain of the guards."

The Messenger took the coals and started back to the castle. He had gone but a little way, though, when he saw that the coals from Gilda's fire were no longer burning but had turned to gray ashes. So he emptied them out in the snow and went on down the hill. But his search was a hard one. So few of the coals that he was given would burn, and so few people wanted to give them freely.

At last he came to a tiny house on a bleak side of the hill. The wind blew down through the old chimney, and the frost had crept in through the cracks in the wall.
The door opened at once when he knocked, though, and inside he found a little girl, stirring porridge over a small fire.

"A light for the castle fire?" she repeated when the Messenger had told her what he wanted. "You may have as many coals as you like, although we have few large ones. I am my father's housewife and I tend this small fire so that the kitchen may be comfortable for him when he comes home from work. I am cooking his supper, too," she said. "But do sit down and warm yourself, and have a bowl of warm supper before you start out in the cold again. Then you may have half of our fire if the King needs it."

The Messenger did as the little girl bade him, and then he lifted one small, bright coal from the fire, and put it in his lantern.

"It will never burn all the way back to the castle," he said to himself, but with each step the coal grew brighter. It cast pink shadows on the snow as if the spring were sending wild roses up through the ground. It made the dark road in front of the Messenger as bright as if the sun were shining, and it warmed him like the summer time. When he came to the castle, the coal still burned and glowed. As soon as he touched it to the gray logs in the fireplace they burst into flames, and the castle fire was kindled again.

They wondered why the new fire made the kettle sing so much more sweetly than it had ever sung before, and warmed the hearts of the castle folk so that they forgot to quarrel. At last, when they talked it over with the Messenger, they decided that it was because love had come from the cottage with the coal, and was kindled and burning now in the castle fire.


The Fire That Would Not Burn

- author unknown

They told me the big black Lab's name was Reggie, as I looked at him lying in his pen. The shelter was clean, no-kill, and the people really friendly.

I'd only been in the area for six months, but everywhere I went in the small college town, people were welcoming and open.  

Everyone waves when you pass them on the street.

But something was still missing as I attempted to settle in to my new life here, and I thought a dog couldn't hurt.

Give me someone to talk to.

And I had just seen Reggie's advertisement on the local news.
The shelter said they had received numerous calls right after, but they said the people who had come down to see him just didn't look like "Lab people," whatever that meant. They must've thought I did.


But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me in giving me Reggie and his things, which consisted of a dog pad, bag of toys almost all of which were brand new tennis balls, his dishes, and a sealed letter from his previous owner.
 See, Reggie and I didn't really hit it off when we got home. We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter told me to give him to adjust to his new home). Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to adjust, too.  Maybe we were too much alike. For some reason, his stuff (except for the tennis balls --- he wouldn't go anywhere without two stuffed in his mouth) got tossed in with all of my other unpacked boxes.  I guess I didn't really think he'd need all his old stuff, that I'd get him new things once he settled in. But it became pretty clear pretty soon that he wasn't going to. I tried the normal commands the shelter told me he knew, ones like "sit" and "stay" and "come" and "heel," and he'd follow them - when he felt like it.  


He never really seemed to listen when I called his name --- sure, he'd look in my direction after the fourth or fifth time I said it, but then he'd just go back to doing whatever.  When I'd ask again, you could almost see him sigh and then grudgingly obey. This just wasn't going to work. He chewed a couple shoes and some unpacked boxes.  I was a little too stern with him and he resented it, I could tell. The friction got so bad that I couldn't wait for the two weeks to be up, and when it was, I was in full-on search mode for my cell phone amid all of my unpacked stuff.
I remembered leaving it on the stack of boxes for the guest room, but I also mumbled, rather cynically, that the "damn dog probably hid it on me." Finally I found it, but before I could punch up the shelter's number, I also found his pad and other toys from the shelter...I tossed the pad in Reggie's direction and he snuffed it and wagged, some of the most enthusiasm I'd seen since bringing him home. But then I called, "Hey, Reggie, you like that? Come here and I'll give you a treat." Instead, he sort of glanced in my direction --- maybe "glared" is more accurate --- and then gave a discontented sigh and flopped down .... with his back to me.


Well, that's not going to do it either, I thought. And I punched the shelter phone number. But I hung up when I saw the sealed envelope.  


I had completely forgotten about that, too.  "Okay, Reggie," I said out loud,  "let's see if your previous owner has any advice."


To:  Whoever Gets My Dog  


Well, I can't say that I'm happy you're reading this, a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by Reggie's new owner.
 I'm not even happy writing it. If you're reading this,  it means I just got back from my last car ride with my Lab  after dropping him off at the shelter.  

 He knew something was different.  

 I have packed up his pad and toys before and set them by the back door before a trip, but this time... it's like he knew something was wrong.  And something is wrong...which is why I have to go to try to make it right.


So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it  will help you bond with him and he with you. First, he loves tennis balls.

The more the merrier. Sometimes I think he's part squirrel, the way he hordes them. He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there. Hasn't done it yet. Doesn't matter where you throw them, he'll bound after it, so be careful - really don't do it by any roads.
I made that mistake once, and it almost cost him dearly.

Next, commands.
Maybe the shelter staff  already told you, but I'll go over them again:
 Reggie knows the obvious ones --- "sit," "stay," "come," "heel."  

He knows hand signals:
 "back" to turn around and go back when you put your hand straight up; and "over" if you put your

hand out right or left. "Shake" for shaking water off, and "paw" for a high-five. He does "down" when he feels like lying down --- I bet you could work on that with him some more.
He knows "ball" and "food" and "bone" and "treat" like nobody's business.


I trained Reggie with small food treats.  

Nothing opens his ears like little pieces of hot dog.

Feeding schedule: twice a day,  once about seven in the morning, and again at six in the evening.
Regular store-bought stuff; the shelter has the brand.


He's up on his shots. Call the clinic on 9th Street and update his info with yours; they'll make sure to send you reminders for when he's due. Be forewarned: Reggie hates the vet.  

Good luck getting him in the car.  I don't know how he knows when it's time to go to the vet, but he knows.


Finally, give him some time. I've never been married, so it's only been Reggie and me for his whole life He's gone everywhere

with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can.
He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn't bark or complain. He just loves to be around people, and me most especially.

Which means that this transition is going to be hard, with him going to live with someone new.

And that's why I need to share one more bit of info with you....


His name's not Reggie. I don't know what made me do it, but  when I dropped him off at the shelter, I told them his name was Reggie.  

 He's a smart dog, he'll get used to it  and will respond to it, of that I have no doubt.
But I just couldn't bear to give them his real name.
For me to do that, it seemed so final, that handing him over to the shelter was as good as me admitting that I'd never see him again.

And if I end up coming back, getting him, and tearing up this letter, it means everything's fine. But if someone else is

reading it, well ... well it means that his new owner should know his real name.
It'll help you bond with him. Who knows, maybe you'll even notice a change in his demeanor if he's been giving you problems.


His real name is "Tank". Because that is what I drive.


Again, if you're reading this and you're from the area, maybe my name has been on the news.
I told the shelter that they couldn't make "Reggie" available for adoption until they received word from my company commander.
See, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could've left Tank with ... and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq , that they make one phone call to the shelter ... in the "event" ... to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption.
Luckily, my colonel is a dog guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed.
He said he'd do it personally. And if you're reading this, then he made good on his word.

Well, this letter is getting downright depressing,  even though, frankly, I'm just writing it for my dog.
I couldn't imagine if I was writing it for a wife and kids and family ... but still, Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family. And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me.


That unconditional love from a dog is what I take with me to Iraq as an inspiration to do something selfless, to protect innocent people from those who would do terrible things ... and to keep those terrible people from coming over here.
If I have to give up Tank in order to do it, I am glad to have done so.
 He is my example of service and of love.  I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.


All right, that's enough. I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter.
I don't think I'll say another good-bye to Tank, though. I cried too much the first time.
Maybe I'll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.

Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home,  and give him an extra kiss goodnight - every night - from me.


Thank you,  


Paul Mallory




I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope.  


Sure I had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people like me.
Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning the Silver Star when he gave his life to save three buddies.  


Flags had been at half-mast all summer. I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog.


"Hey, Tank," I said quietly. The dog's head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes bright.


"C'mere boy." He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor. He sat in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn't heard in months.


"Tank," I whispered.


His tail swished.


I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood him. I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my face into his scruff and hugged him.


"It's me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to me."
Tank reached up and licked my cheek.
"So whatdaya say we play some ball?"  


His ears perked again.

"Yeah? Ball? You like that? Ball?"  


Tank tore from my hands and disappeared in the next room.


And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.  




a short story

Once upon a time, we were new, and whole, and fine.
But we find our lives now chipped away by circumstance and time.
Together, we feel whole again, and build on what we have.
Our work reflects what we’ve become: strong, unique, and grand. 
PS Gough (c) 11/05/2012

Life becomes us; living defines us; and time refines us.


Bluebonnets and Kangaroos are now out