Honoring the Call

Jan 23, 2009

A national day of service? Linked with Martin Luther King? Even though I didn’t realize it till I started paying attention, that part’s been around since 1994. Thank you, Congress. Now, a big high five to history, for converging upon Obama who calls me personally to service. Well, I wasn’t home, but I heard he called. This is all pretty great, because I don’t have any money to spend anyway. Did I just say it was great that I don’t have any money to spend? Sigh.

Hang on, it gets even better.

You remember Betty and Kicker McKenney, the Constant Gardeners who watch over the garden at Pasadena Avenue and Arlington Drive? The McKenneys seems to be there night and day yet still make everyone feel welcome. How do they do that gracious thing? It’s a gift.

Well, a few weeks back the multi-talented McKenneys put the word out that an all-volunteer Work Day was coming January 19th. We were told to bring tools and gloves but empty the old water sac at home as there’s no baño. So I showed up for my three hours of service at the ever-beautiful Arlington Garden along with 60 other Pasadenans.

Weeding and chatting on MLK's day of service.

Weeding and chatting on MLK

It was a balmy winter day made for raking and weeding. Mel, your friend Craig from Oxy was hoeing near me. Up ahead a couple of ladies sat in the poppies as they chatted and pulled dandelions and mallow. Families with young children weeded and moved rocks. Paths were cleared, and broadleaf weeds were easily pulled from the mulched California poppies. Best of all, several volunteers decided not to wait till next MLK day to volunteer again. They got onto the regular volunteering schedule.

You can, too. Ongoing volunteer opportunities are available for gardeners of all levels. Click here for contact information.

— Sandy Gillis

3 Responses for “Honoring the Call”

  1. Ann Erdman says:

    For several years Pasadena city employees did organized volunteer work in the community on Martin Luther King Day. Reading your post, it just occurred to me that this program isn’t happening any more. I’m not sure why. I was not one of the organizers.

  2. Sandy Gillis says:

    Thanks, Ann! This seems like such a brilliant and natural way to spend MLK day, “making it better” for all. Props to Pasadena city employees for their past service.

  3. Thanks for the kind words, Sandy. We loved all the great help we got with the weeds. People were truly inspired to give of their time and talent to do a very thorough job in the garden. We enjoyed meeting them and hope they will come back to help and just enjoy the special place the garden provides for peace and quiet.

    Please let us know whenever you do articles like this about the garden. We’ll connect to your site as well.



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