One day, an old man cheerfully pushed a wheelbarrow of manure down the bumpy road that led towards his house.
While he wheeled the wheelbarrow along, his neighbor walked up to him and asked: “What do you plan on doing with all that manure?”
“I’m going to fertilize my yard,” the old man said.
“I don’t want that reeking mess near my house!” the neighbor said.
And as the neighbor argued his case against the manure, the old man became flustered. Instead of setting the wheelbarrow down properly, he unintentionally shifted it awkwardly. The wheelbarrow tilted over, on to its side. About half the load of manure emptied on to the roadway.
“Now look at this mess,” the neighbor said.
The old man felt himself blush as he looked at the manure in the middle of the road. He knew he tended to be clumsy, and his clumsiness was like a thorn in his side. Not only that, but he had to leave the pile on the road while he rushed home for a shovel.
Even though he hurried as fast as he could, there were two cars held up behind his mess by the time he made it back. Stuck there, they spectated as he shoveled the manure back into his wheelbarrow.
The first car pulled up closer to him. “Watch’a doing there old man? Could you use a hand?” the driver asked.
“No thank you. I’ll be quick,” the old man said. He felt shame enough as it was; the last thing he wanted was for a stranger to have to contend with his pile of manure, too.
As he waited, the driver peered his head out of the car window again. “Watch’a plan on doing with all that anyway?”
“I’m planting a garden.”
“Figures. What kind?”
“I’m hoping to get some roses going.”
Finally, the old man was done scrapping most of the manure back into the wheelbarrow, and the cars maneuvered down the road again.
The old man tightened his grip on the handles of the barrow and pushed his load down the driveway.
His wife popped her head out of the window, a frown on her face. “What are you doing?” she asked. “And what’s that smell?”
He pinched his lips, then looked towards his wife. “I’m fertilizing the garden,” he said.
As he did, the wheelbarrow’s wheel caught a crevice in the driveway. Being distracted as he was by his wife, the old man failed to effectively stop the wheelbarrow from tipping over. Again, about half the manure ended up on the ground, but at least this time, he already had his shovel handy.
The wife came down the side door’s steps, and she and the old man walked the wheelbarrow down the rest of the driveway.
“It’s roses I wanted to plant for you,” the old man said. He showed his wife what looked a pile of little sticks with roots.
Together, they spent well into evening digging up the garden, mixing in the manure, and planting the old man’s dreams of rose bushes.
Eventually, the shrublings grew, and not only did the old man shower his wife with many fragrant roses, but also his neighbors.