Monday, April 15, at home in Arizona
I’m in the habit these days of parking the Perfect Tow Vehicle at the garden center end of WalMart. New plants for spring planting are coming in frequently and I like to see the latest arrivals before going inside. Recently I decide to pick up a few annuals for pots around the house.
I push my shopping cart through the profusion of blooming plants.
Gee, a six-pack is only $2.48. Hmm . . . dianthus, marigolds, petunias . . . oh, the memories . . . I still can see Grandma’s two big washtubs full of petunias on the tree stumps in her front yard. I’ll get the petunias!
I choose a six-pack of the white ones and a six-pack of purplish-blue ones.
Moseying around the flower aisles . . .
I approach a fifty-to-sixtyish woman standing with her hands on her cart.
Maybe she would be a good one to ask . . .
“Excuse me, ma’am. Have you lived in Arizona long?”
“Yes, I have. About 30 years. Why do you ask?”
“Well, I’m not from around here. I bought a home a year ago and planted that thing over there with the yellow flowers. The tag said “perennial” but it died over the winter. Makes me wonder if any of these perennials will survive around here.”
“I don’t know about that, but I do know this past winter was colder than usual. Colder and with more snow.”
“Oh, so there’s hope . . . . Aren’t these beautiful?” I remark, referring to the bright blooms surrounding us.
“Yes, they are. I just can’t make a decision. I have trouble spending money on plants. They’ll probably die in my care,” she adds wryly.
Noting she’s dressed well enough, I sense the reason for her reticence. It’s not that she can’t afford them.
“You know? I can be the same way.” I look down at my choice of petunias smiling at me from the cart, exuberant with spring freshness.
I continue . . . .
“I came up with a way to get over that. Think of all the times you’ve gone into a Wendy’s or McDonald’s, plunked down 6 bucks, and thought nothing of it. You eat the meal, and, when you leave, you have nothing to show for the 6 bucks . . . . except maybe a bit of blubber.” (I can say that last part because she’s slender in that maddingly natural way of some petite, small-boned women.)
“That’s so true! Why is it easy to spend on food and not on plants? I think nothing of the cost of the food I want.”
“Yeah, and these flowers will give you pleasure a lot longer than bites of food.”
“Well, maybe. Maybe not.”
“I don’t have much luck with plants. My mother could grow anything. I never had any interest in it until a few years ago. You should see my neighbor. She has this big, round thing full of geraniums. Gorgeous. In the winter she pulls it into the garage . . . . ”
“Maybe she would help you with a few plants of your own?”
“Oh, she’s tried. Believe me, she’s tried. I think she’s given up on me.” She laughs weakly and asks, “What are those you have?”
“Petunias. Petunias are probably the easiest. Though everyone is different, I suppose. See those marigolds over there? I can’t grow marigolds to save my life. They sit and stare and do nothing. Petunias I can do. You oughta’ try them.”
“They ARE pretty . . . .”
“Two things to remember — One, use Miracle-Gro to fertilize — ”
“Yeah, I’ve heard Miracle Gro is best.”
“– and dead-head regularly.”
“What’s dead-head?” she asks.
I demonstrate, pinching off a dried-up bloom from a plant in my cart. “When you do that the plant goes Oh no, I need to put out more flowers!”
We talk a while more, as if old friends.
I offer her a last bit of encouragement before heading into the store.
“Everyone needs beauty in their lives. Get yourself some flowers. They’re worth it, even if they don’t last long. Even if you have to skip lunch at McD’s for them.”
We chuckle at that, wish each other good luck, and I leave her standing among the flowers.
Later, somewhere around women’s apparel . . .
Here comes my new acquaintance —
“WOW! LOOK AT YOU!” I exclaim upon seeing her cart. In front of her petunias of several colors nod their pretty heads.
“I did it!” She grins broadly as she passes. “Now I’m off to buy food.”
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NOTE: Not wanting to break up the flow of this little story, I held back photos of my petunias until it was done. Here they are on our patio:
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FIND IT AT AMAZON!
Our readers share with you what they found at Amazon.
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DID YOU KNOW . . . ?
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THANK YOU FOR VISITING MY BLOG!
Coming up . . . It’s griddlin’ time again!
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ONE MORE THING . . .
I invite you to share with us your story or stories of times you encouraged someone. We all have those stories (forget about those opportunities we missed!). In fact, many of you are regular encouragers on this blog. — Sue