Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Fitting Tribute

Back in June, I participated in one of BooMama's (aka Sophie's) fabulous giveaways. The rules of her giveaways are simple: leave a comment and you're entered. I simply had to enter this particular one because the giveaway was for a pair of Ethel gloves.

Ethel gloves are gardening gloves. But they are certainly not your ordinary gardening gloves. Oh no. Their motto of "Fashion. Function. Protection." is perfection, with fashion being my favorite part of the deal.

Y'all may not know this, but I am a sucker for a pretty thing. Especially an ordinary everyday item that has been made sassy. So of course I was drawn to the gardening gloves. Even though up until a few weeks ago I couldn't be bothered to step out into the Texas sun and tend to our yard. I mean, there were episodes of Grey's Anatomy that needed watching. Priorities.

But way more than the sassiness, what touched me was that the gloves carry the same name as my grandmother. You see, Ethel Cruise was known in her family and her town for her gardening talents. She loved nothing more than being in the yard and creating beauty out of dirt and bulbs.

When I was in high school she and Grandaddy came to our house and directed the landscaping for the front section of our townhouse. As a full fledged teenager, I was less than thrilled about my mother's mandate to spend a Saturday working in the yard. But it turned out to be one of the best times I ever spent with Grandmother and Grandaddy. There was a lot of laughing and a lot of hard work. And from her, I learned that ivy needs to be spaced when first planted.

(Can we talk for just a moment about how fabulous Grandmother's chapeau is? I have seen the very same kind of beret on the likes of Jessica Biel and Lauren Conrad. Ethel Cruise: Forward Fashion Thinker.)

So given all this, and given that Grandmother is no longer with us, I left a rather lay-my-heart-on-my-sleeve comment for Sophie's Ethel gloves giveaway. I may have been crying while I did it. I know you're shocked.

Well, lo and behold, that same day I get the following email from BooMama:

Would you mind sending me your address?

The Ethel gloves people read your sweet comment and want to send you a pair. :-)

I'm not even kidding.


I know! And sure enough, a week later I had my very own pair of Ethel gloves. Along with one of the kindest, most heartfelt notes I've ever received from someone I've never met.

And the story doesn't end there.

A couple of days ago I received another sweet note from Angela at Ethel gloves. They had decided to add a blog feature to their website and wanted my story (well, Grandmother's story, really) to be the very first post. You can go read it, right over here:

Ethel In The Garden: how does ethel help your garden grow?

And now, ladies and gents, I have an Ethel Gloves Giveaway of my very own. Oh yes! I have three pairs of gloves to give away to three very lucky people. All you need to do is leave me a comment and tell me your favorite memory in a garden. If you don't have one, just tell me what you like about gardens.

If after you've looked at their truly lovely website and want to order a pair because you just can't wait to see who wins the giveaway, enter in the discount code "Diary" and receive 10% off until August 23rd.

Can't wait to read your comments!

(Giveaway ends at Noon Eastern on Monday, July 28th)

(Oh, and aunties and other blog unfamiliar folk- to leave a comment, just click right below here where it says how many comments there are. On the comment page, make sure you sign your name so I know your comment belongs to you!)


  1. very very cool story.

    i would love to enter. however, i have no green thumb and would kill anything i touched.

  2. ps. did you go to bible study tonight?

  3. leslie! this is amazing! i'm so glad for your that your story is being shared!

    i can't believe that i actually know the person doing the give away, so fun!

    my favorite memory of the garden took place without me in it :) but in preparing for the wedding cody and my dad did a lot of bonding as they planted flowers together... it was so sweet to see the two men who have shaped my life bond, ha ha, over flowers!

  4. Gardening = time with my dad.

    Growing up my dad taught me how to garden. To this day I continue to ask him every spring what to do about one thing or another when it comes to the new plants I purchase and have no idea what to do with them :)I love that i can talk and learn from my dad about one of his passions and joys.

    It is now being passed down to Asher. My dad brings him out to the garden to show him the green beans growing, cucumbers and to smell the flowers. Asher loves to pick the veggies and eat them right out of the garden as I did as a child - one for the bucket 3 for the mouth!

    My 'Ethel' is spending time with family and reaping not only the harvest of food but the harvest of family.

  5. I'm the daughter of an avid gardener, and my mom still spends every summer out in the backyard moving plants around, installing new trellises, and enjoying how her perennials flourish year after year. Although we only have a small patio outside our apartment, I can look out the window and see green bean plants taller than my head, ten pepper plants, and happy basil, oregano, and rosemary plants. I guess the green thumb does get passed down from generation to generation.

  6. here's what I love about gardens: when they thrive without my assistance.

    Loved the post!

  7. Melba and Sarah Jo11:33 AM


    Sarah Jo and Melba here. I'm entering for Melba dearest, who I think keeps Grandmother's gardening legacy alive. (While Grandmother helped her less gardening-inclined children..your mom and Betsy..with their gardens, Mom planted some for Gma at her house, at Gma's request/demand.) And looking at the pictures on the Ethel site, Mom thinks the gloves are well-designed. She would know; she's bought 100s of pairs throughout the years. (And Daddy can attest.)

    So cool that you submitted the story.

    xo sth and mct

  8. So, OK - the random number generator will never pick me - as that is my luck...but I could NOT not post on such an amazing story. First off: moment of silence for sweet Ethel. I love old people and I know that Ethel Cruise would have been one of my super fav's right on up there with my own grandmothers, Betty & Reba and my darling great grandmothers Lizzie, Lula Mae, Aileen and Emma. Also, I love when good stories get noticed randomly and surprisingly. What a great treat and what a fitting tribute to sweet Ethel! I might of cried a little, too. But that's just me.

    Oh and by the way. I don't garden. I find no pleasure in it and kill everything in sight. Out of respect for Ethel...IF BY CHANCE...the random number generator picks me, pick again...because I will do them no justice and Ethel Cruise will be very disappointed!

  9. Random number generator? What about favoritism and the fact that my mommy REEEEALLY wants the gloves? Does that count for anything? : )

    What we love about gardening is that it is always a family affair (all the grandparents helped build our most recent garden just before Will was born), and it teaches you about Jesus. Endless analogies and lessons on life, growth, sin, beauty, etc. are in the soil.

  10. mary beth12:00 PM

    i love cruise stories! i will forever remain one of your clan's biggest fans.

    garden gloves...hum...a fashion necessity accessory of going green. why me? just plowed thru Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (just short of a miracle...have you ever thought of me reading,cooking, growing anything or thinking about food?) why now? my son is a a major and summer intern. it's a slow grow for me. but just this week-end after harvesting an endless bag of basil, smelling it in the car for five hours...I made my first, (and perhaps my last) pesto. It took the collaborative effort of 5 adults and 2 children (by the time we borrowed forgotten ingredients and figured out the food processor for the first know the gig, you were our neighbors back in the day) simply put: it was one small step for mankind, one large leap for edenkind. why me win? while i'm growing a green thumb...i can always wear them in sand tray therapy with children at work. bottom line = i'll look cool, just like you!

  11. My favorite gardening memory was when I was 4 years old. I had stayed home from school because I had a cold. It was a really cold, drizzly spring day and my dad was home from work. He was planting bulbs for daffodils in the yard that day and took me outside to help him. I have a picture of that day - snot running everywhere, my gloved hands holding daffodil bulbs and dirt. My dad told me that day that I was like those daffodil bulbs - I might be all covered in dirt and snot now, but after a few seasons I would come up with beauty and character and full of life and love. I've never forgotten that day and it remains one of the most vivid memories I have of my dad. Every time I see a daffodil I think of that day and what he told me.

  12. Anonymous10:42 PM

    Your ethel post brought tears to my eyes and aren't you glad you have a picture of that sweet day in the garden with your grandparents??? My two gardening inspirations are both older women. One was old enough to be my grandmother and is now gardening in heaven. She taught me to arrange flowers and wash spinach in the washing machine. She had an open home and we hosted many a retreat and leadership meeting at her Texas ranch. Her name is Anne Towery and I miss her every day! I can picture her in her denim skirt, sensible shoes, and garden gloves in her Texas garden! My second inspiration is Nancy Matson, who hosted my seminary wives small group when Rick was in seminary. The first night I met her I thought, "Wow...I love this woman. And I think she's old enough to be my mom!" She truly taught me to garden and passed along many a plant. Some I moved to North Carolina and they grow now in my back yard. She lives in Wisconsin now and she's SO jealous that our Rosemary is a perennial and we can grow pansies all winter long. I love gardening because I get to exercise my own creativity while at the same time realizing that only God can cause the growth. Sort of like life... Leslie, we miss you here in NC and I enjoy keeping up with you on your blog! ~Sonya

  13. Growing up we always had gardens; my dad took care of the vegetables and my mom the flowers. Springs and summers were full of roses, peonies, lilies, tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans. My favorite "memory" is actually a living legacy. For four generations now (maybe five, but I'd have to check with my mom), the women in my family have grown peonies. When a daughter is grown and has a house of her own, and a patch to garden, she gets peonies, grown in and dug from her mother's garden, to plant in her own yard. We just bought our first house and so I will get to plant and tend and love the same peonies that my mother did, and my grandmother before her, and my great-grandmother before her. They're beautiful - white with a pink center - and every time I see them, I think of the amazing line of women to whom I am connected both by blood relation and through caring for such a thing of beauty.

  14. My favorite memory in the garden is of my mother. She is a master in the garden, thanks to the aforementioned Ethel, who imparted her gardening expertise to Mom.

    Mom had a beautiful rose garden when I was growing up. Every year, she would drag me and my sister to Witherspoon, a rose-gardener's heaven, to choose the season's new bushes. She chose them with care, working to create a garden of diverse colors and textures, while we groaned and shuffled our feet.

    She taught us about the roses' names, monikers like Barbara Bush, Double Delight, and Mr. Lincoln. After she planted them, I waited excitedly for the first blooms. There was something so gratifying to me about that process: from concept to planting to cultivating to blooming and cutting.

    Mom would often put cut flowers in delicate vases next to our beds, and she still does it when I visit. Thinking about her in the garden, choosing a perfect bloom to cut, will always make me smile. I learned from her, am still learning, that true beauty takes work and diligence.

  15. Anonymous1:24 PM

    Oh Leslie! Thaat is the sweetest blog and I am so so sooo happy that you got Grandmamma gloves! How very precious and I know it will make you want to run out and dive into the soil and watch things spring up and flower and come to fruit!
    My grandmother grew strawberries in her yard. She would freeze them to enjoy in the winter. And she Always saved some for my December birthday! My grandfather when I asked him as a young adult how in the world his tomoatoes grew so big and perfect and delicious, responded, Well first use manure then cuss'em"- mine were never and wonderful as his or the memory of his stories!

    Leslie, I am only getting to this because we have been in Virginia- dad died last Wednesday.

  16. Anonymous6:57 AM

    Love the garden story. At my home, the biggest fans of my garden are the deer. THey must think all this work is just to provide them with tasty snacks!


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