Last weekend as we helped, my parents finish the deck and gardens in our back yard, God sent angels to tend to the “Heidi Allen Memory Garden”. The garden is located at the intersection of State Route 104 and 104b in New Haven, New York. Its location represents Heidi’s last known whereabouts. She was kidnapped while working alone at the D & W Convenience Store (now Valero) on Easter Sunday, April 3, 1994.
Our beloved New Haven community’s support from the moment Heidi disappeared until today continues to encourage and uplift my family. Shortly after 9/11/01, this memorial garden was birthed through the dedication and hard work of these same people. To commemorate the garden, a candlelight vigil remembered Heidi along with the men and women who lost and gave their lives on that fateful September day.
Years later, the garden continues to blossom with hope and love. Most years my parents and I say, “The garden needs a facelift before Memorial day.” However, before we make it there, it is done. Angels come and go without being seen. They don’t seek recognition but instead, to bring joy.
This year I caught some of the angels at work. I arrived at the gas station to replenish the soda and chips for those working at our house to see cars, flowers, and people working ever so hard to brighten up the garden. I sat in my car and watched them work as tears trickled down my cheeks. Do I interrupt to tell them thank you? Do I forget the half a dozen people at my house awaiting cold drinks and join them? I want to help yet their generosity causes my heart to leak tears.
Before entering the store, I decided to walk over to say thank you. They didn’t stop working and barely even looked up. I thanked them for all they were doing. “No problem…not a big deal…we are glad to…” were some of the responses. My response, “It is a big deal and it is appreciated. Heidi is my sister. On behalf of my entire family, thank you.” I could tell my words made them uncomfortable so I returned to my mission and entered the store.
Once inside I asked the manager, John, “Are you responsible for the angels at work at the garden.” A simple “Yes, it is the least I can do.” Before heading to the cemetery to care for their family’s plots, they spent the morning on their hands and knees to restore beauty and hope to a desolate corner.
To the garden angels of this year and years past, THANK YOU! Although two little words, consisting of only eight letters in total – we appreciate you more than you might understand.
You stripped the dark decay of winter and restored it with fireworks of color and life once again.
May God bless you in return for your kindness and generosity.
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323