Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Merciful Thing To Do

My son Joe gave me a beautiful hanging planter on Mother’s day.  Pink and white blossoms in a huge basket, long flowery tendrils hanging over the side, robust dark green leaves.  He walked into the house, kissed me and handed it over. 

“Happy Mothers Day!” 

“Thanks Joe” 

Then, chiming in from the corner of the room, another voice. 

“So, Joe what did that plant ever do to you?   Did it indicate in any way that it had a death wish or were you just being sadistic?” 

Rob.  My second child.  How well he knows me! 

Enter my mother. 

She said to Joe, “Nice plant!” Then turning to me she added, “Maybe you should just give it to me.”   

Everyone’s a comedian. 

I decided it was high time I grew something… and had it survive.  

How hard could it really be?  I mean, it’s spring and the whole neighborhood is brimming with people tending little plants. If they could do it, why can’t I? Most are growing vegetables, a booming business in this economic downturn.  Because of it, walking around my neighborhood has become a lot more fun than it used to be!  I get guys talking to me about their jumbo cucumbers-and they are quite forthcoming with details related to how big they will get with some tender loving care.  The lady down the road told me that she traded in her Small Fry tomatoes for Supersonic VF Hybrid grafted ones- explaining that they will keep their firmness when everyone else’s have shriveled and were hanging on the ground.  I was able to learn a number of fertilization techniques from the couple next door, but I digress…. 

I created my own little garden, a small piece of heaven and cost effective nutrition.   

Growing  tiny seedlings and transplanting them to the tilled and fertilized outdoor garden went better than expected.  I made sure they would have enough sun and made certain they were close to a water source as insufficient quantities of both have derailed my gardens in previous years. I planted them tenderly, with little stakes at the beginning of each row indicating what vegetable my family would be enjoying in a few months and watered my little bambinos.  Then I put up a little fence so the area was cordoned off- a necessary visual barrier for the kids as verbal instructions are rarely successful without reinforcement. 

All was going very well for close to 18 hours.  

Just so you know, that’s probably a record for me.  

As I was letting my puppy in from outside, I noticed she had a sprig of green in her mouth. I stood there, not quite comprehending for a few very long moments, knowing it looked a lot like one of the carrot plants I had sown, but not understanding how it possibly could be.  Reality slowly dawned.  I eased my head toward the garden, terrified to look. Glancing out of the corner of my eye, my worst fears were confirmed.  I was met with a vast, nuclear wasteland here my garden should have been….grey, flat…..dead.    There were partial plant carcasses  strewn about haphazardly, holes were dug, and a little pile of  puppy dung sat in the center where my one pumpkin plant should have been. My fence had been breached, violated by an overzealous ten pound Boston Terrier. 

I have concluded that I will serve our economy best by purchasing vegetables at our local farm stand… 

I stopped in front of my Mother’s house, knowing that what I was about to do was the right thing.  I tenderly placed the basket Joe gave me in a blanket, nestled a bottle of plant food between its blossoms and placed the bundle on her stoop. I rang the doorbell, then ran and hid until I was sure mom answered and watched as she brought it in the house.
Under the circumstances, it was the merciful thing to do.