Old Red is Not Dead

“Old Red is not dead,” I proclaimed sadly as a reentered the house last week. It is a spring ritual here where the pollen coats the South in a pasty, yellow mist. Along with the budding azaleas and rejuvenated gardenias, the grass makes a clumpy appearance and I have to pull Old Red out of her graveyard under the back porch. Well, it isn’t a graveyard yet, because Old Red is not quite dead.

We’ve had Old Red for what must be sixteen years – well past her serviceable life. When my previous mower died, I saw her chained up outside the store with some other discounted models. Who can pass up a $400 mower for $87? Old Red called out to me in her shackles and I answered. The man said she had been returned because she leaked gas – which made her a perfect complement to my family, so I brought her home. Turns out a little duct tape on a leaky tube and she’s never spewed gas again. Wish I could say the same for my family.

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Curse this Dreaded Black Thumb

Spring seems to have found us here in Georgia this weekend. While it is a simple fact that God smiles on The South sooner than the northern regions, I hold no illusions that spring is here for good. But yesterday found me in shorts cleaning up the yard. We live on a couple of wooded acres and green is beginning to peek through the gloomy brown – in my neighbor’s yard. I however was cursed with a dreaded black thumb. I follow some photography blogs displaying the most beautiful flowers from tropical locations, so I thought I would give you my best effort.

imageThese are my gardenias. Are implies a current state of being, so I suppose I should say these were my gardenias. I don’t know what happened to them, they just shriveled up and turned brown like everything else I put in the ground. Our once vibrant hydrangeas look more like flaking twigs than actual plants. My grass – brown in every season unless you include moss and weeds. Every time I go to the orange store, I tell my friend Lou the dilemma and he recommends a plant that can’t be killed. I used to take them back with their return policy, but I’ve become embarrassed to do so anymore.

You know how God builds a perfect union from two dissimilar parts? One member of the marriage might be outgoing and the other shy, or one might be cognitive while the other is emotional. Then they join together like pieces of a puzzle and complete each other perfectly (sorry for the cheesy Jerry Maguire reference, but while I’m at it, enjoy…)

In a cruel twist of fate for botanists everywhere, my lovely bride has a matching black thumb. Potted plants seem to be a popular thank you gift here and she’s received a number of them over the years. All we have left is a bunch of pots filled with what I call soil of death. She kills indoor plants while I slay the jungle outside. Nothing is safe in our homestead. Thank you, God that we have a supermarket and don’t rely on subsistence farming. We’d all starve for sure.

So while my friends up north are mired in snow, we are seeing the sun in our little slice of heaven. Maybe it likes us because we don’t need it for photosynthesis. I don’t know, I just like wearing shorts again.