Millie's garden does a lot more than just grow vegetables.

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Millie had lots of friends--and they had lots of excuses.Millie Matthews loved her neighborhood, but she didn’t love the way it looked. Bottles, papers, and tires were scattered everywhere. An old sofa squatted sadly in the vacant lot on the corner. She decided to do something about the mess.


Millie had lots of friends. But when she asked them to help clean up the vacant lot, no one volunteered.


“Impossible!” said Mrs. Brown from her porch.


“Too tired,” said Mr. Abrams, a grocery store owner.


"Impossible!" "Too tired." "Allergies."“Allergies,” said Miss Wrinkle, sniffling.


“No time,” said Mrs. Jordan as she hung clothes on the line.


“Too old,” said Mr. McRay, adjusting his hearing aid.


“Too hot,” said Tamika, her face damp with sweat.


“Too hard,” said Hector as he watched reruns on TV.


So Millie picked up the trash by herself. Hector was bored, so he helped Millie move the sofa and old tires to one side. It was hard work, but they got it done. They turned in the cans, bottles, and papers to the recycling center and used the money to buy seeds.


"No time." "Too old." "Too hot."Millie had lots of friends. But when she asked them to help her mow and weed the vacant lot, only Hector volunteered.


“Impossible!” said Mrs. Brown from her porch.


“Too tired,” said Mr. Abrams as he worked the cash register.


“Allergies,” said Miss Wrinkle before she sneezed.


“No time,” said Mrs. Jordan as she fed her young children.


“Too old,” said Mr. McRay from his rocking chair.


Tamika fanned her face. A breeze cooled the morning, so she helped Millie and Hector mow and weed. They piled grass clippings into a compost heap. It was hard work. It was hot work. But the vacant lot looked better. Then they tilled the soil for a large garden.


Millie had lots of friends. But when she asked them to help her plant and water the seeds, only Hector and Tamika volunteered.


“Impossible!” said Mrs. Brown from her porch.


“Too tired,” said Mr. Abrams, stacking cans in his store.


“Allergies,” said Miss Wrinkle, blowing her nose.


“No time,” said Mrs. Jordan as she washed dishes.


Mr. McRay leaned on his cane and remembered the scarecrow in his attic. He brought it to the garden and helped Millie, Hector, and Tamika plant seeds. Corn here. Peas there. Carrots over yonder. Tomatoes, squash, bell peppers, potatoes, and green beans. They watered the garden. It was hard work. It was hot work. But no one complained about being too old, and the garden started to sprout.


Millie had lots of friends. But when she asked them to help her take care of the garden, only Hector, Tamika, and Mr. McRay volunteered.


“Impossible!” said Mrs. Brown from her porch.


“Too tired,” said Mr. Abrams as he sacked groceries.


“Allergies,” Miss Wrinkle said and then coughed.


Mrs. Jordan and her young children brought marigolds from their yard for Millie’s garden. Marigolds would keep the bugs away, said Mrs. Jordan. Every day Millie, Hector, Tamika, Mr. McRay, and Mrs. Jordan and her young children tended the garden. It was hard work. It was hot work. No one was too old or too young, and everyone had just enough time to help. The vacant lot turned green and gold as vegetables grew.


Millie had lots of friends. But when she asked them to help pick vegetables, only Hector, Tamika, Mr. McRay, and Mrs. Jordan and her young children volunteered.


“Impossible!” said Mrs. Brown from her porch.


“Too tired,” said Mr. Abrams, taking inventory in his store.


Miss Wrinkle took allergy pills and felt better, so she helped Millie, Hector, Tamika, Mr. McRay, and Mrs. Jordan and her young children pick vegetables. Miss Wrinkle brought big baskets to hold the produce. It was hard work. It was hot work. No one was too old or too young. There was plenty of time to help, and no one sneezed.


Everyone took home plenty of vegetables, and the garden kept producing more.


Millie had lots of friends. But when she asked them to help sell vegetables to buy more seeds, only Hector, Tamika, Mr. McRay, Mrs. Jordan and her young children, and Miss Wrinkle volunteered.


“Impossible!” said Mrs. Brown from her porch.


Mr. Abrams yawned as he walked home from his store. Then he took a nap. When he awoke he felt refreshed, so he made a sign that read “Fresh Vegetables for Sale Here.” Mr. Abrams helped Millie, Hector, Tamika, Mr. McRay, Mrs. Jordan and her young children, and Miss Wrinkle sell the vegetables.


People bought corn, peas, tomatoes, and potatoes. They bought bell peppers, carrots, green beans, and squash. It was hard work. It was hot work. No one was too old or too young. There was plenty of time to help, and no one sneezed. It was tiring but fun. Millie bought more seeds.


From her porch Mrs. Brown watched everyone work together. “It’s not impossible!” she exclaimed. She drove over in her pickup truck.


Now the vacant lot looked beautiful.Millie, Hector, Tamika, Mr. McRay, Mrs. Jordan and her young children, Miss Wrinkle, and Mr. Abrams loaded the sofa and tires into Mrs. Brown’s truck. Then Mrs. Brown drove to the dump.


Now the vacant lot looked beautiful. Vegetables and flowers grew there. People weeded and watered. Children played. Grown-ups strolled. The garden became a neighborhood meeting place.


Millie had lots of friends. When she asked them to help plant new seeds, everyone volunteered.


After all, it wasn’t just Millie’s garden anymore.