It was Whitney’s second spring working on the Crossroads park, so she had gotten used to some of the more surprising help - not just the fae and ghosts, the strange-people and the occasional mysterious work done between when she left one night and when she returned the next, but vagrants and rebellious kids, cops and neighbors of the area and, once, the entire local chapter of the Pagans motorcycle club.
She was, still, a little bit confused when seven women - all wearing pastel straw hats over their well-coiffed grey hair, sporting gloves with flowers on them that nevertheless looked as if they had seen use at some point, and carrying brightly-coloured caddies full of gardening tools - walked up to her while she was taking a water break.
“Gwendolyn Marcus.” The lead woman - yellow hat, yellow gloves, pink caddy - held out a gloved hand.
Whitney shook the hand; what else did you do? “Whitney . I work for the library,” she offered with a gesture.
“Then you know of the Marcus addition.”
“Of- of course.” That Marcus family. “Am I - are you-” what was she even supposed to say?
“We know who you are. That is,” one of the other women - sky blue hat, pink gloves, neon blue cadd - cleared her throat. “We’ve been reading about you and the work you’ve been doing, and we thought that perhaps we could help. Elma Thorton. I was a librarian until I retired. It’s good work, the library,” she added.
“We,” Mrs. Marcus picked up the conversation again, “are the City Gardening Club, or at least we are a quorum thereof. We’ve brought our own tools, but we also brought something else that you may find interesting.”
She gestured at another woman - green everything- before Whitney could come up with a polite way to not have her project taken over by rich, posh women.
“I’m Molly Tanner.” She almost bowed, a little nod that seemed far more respectful than Whitney had been expecting. “The City Gardening Club used to, approximately a hundred and fifty years ago, maintain this park. Now,” she held up her hands as if in surrender. “We are not trying to take over your project. We understand that it’s a blessed and charmed endeavor — oh,” she smiled sadly, “even on Park Ave. they know what this city is.”
They. And yet she looked no less well-heeled than the others, if perhaps a little younger.
“And,” Molly Tanner continued smoothly, “we’re not here to step on your toes. But.” She reached into her caddy and pulled out a plastic file holder — pink flowers on mint green. “Here are the records we have of the park. While there’s nothing at all saying that you need to plant the same things that the Gardening Club did back then, there’s also a lot of why written in here. It was my great-great-grandmother who took many of these notes, and she was a very thorough woman.”
“And-” Mrs. Marcus stepped in, “while we are here, we are gardeners, and you have quite a bit to do. I’ve heard you’ve allowed others to help you on occasion?”
Allowed. Whitney cleared her throat and found a smile. “Yes. Yes, I love having help.” She looked at the floral file folder. “And this - information - this is wonderful.” She gestured to her left. “We’re working on this little area here today. Some of the Fae call it the grove, although, as you can see, it has no trees. I’d tread carefully, but nothing has hurt me here yet.” She smiled at the pastel ladies. “Thanks so much for coming to help.”
“We are,” Molly told her, with a wink that said more than the words, “fellow gardeners, after all.”