It has been a little painful, passing up plants at my local nursery. I would say I have shown restraint, great restraint in the purchasing of flowers. Even so, I have managed to make two big shopping trips, although I know by the middle of June my yard should be cluttered with big equipment and big guys using it as they start my home improvement projects.
As I cruised the aisles of plants and flowers, succulents and ceramic pots, I decided I needed to move my summer operations to the little side porch that I used to enjoy. It was here I had pots and pots of Gerber daisies, geraniums and hanging baskets of weepy things, lobelia and creeping Jenny, wave petunias, English ivy. These were grave disappointments for me because the birds loved them. They nested and fed their young and destroyed the plants completely. The more expensive and exotic the hanging basket, the bigger the family that occupied it.
The neighborhood changed a bit, for the better, actually, but I began to use the porch less and the back yard more. But now adjustments must be made. I have purchased some begonias, a New Guinea impatiens and a couple of things I can’t name, and soon my little porch will be overflowing with granny flowers, and I shall sit there, in my cotton house dress, hose rolled to my knees, watching the world go by and offering the neighbors a chat and a Coca-Cola.
I have it in my head this spring has been “back to normal,” with cool mornings and evenings and warm dry days in between. Perfect weather. Each day has seemed just the right length, an hour exactly an hour’s length long. The month, though, has sped by, and I can’t quite make sense of it.
This Memorial Day weekend I will take flowers out to Elmwood Cemetery where my people are buried, and I will take my sister, perhaps, because for some reason I can never find my Granny Opal. The Skillmans are within spitting distance of the McDonoughs, but I miss them every time. This is a pity, because I think I would like to buried next my Granny Opal, and I worry my loved ones will one day not find me, either.
Although I am not sure about the logistics of a cemetery visit this year. The parents of the new twins will be out of town overnight, and it will take Mee-maw, Pee-paw, aunties and uncles to pick up the slack. We feel old and ineffectual with the three little ones. Especially when we see the picture of Daddy, flaked out on the bed, feeding Gretchen a bottle with his right hand as she lays by his side, Harmon flat out on his back and balanced on Dad’s on left leg, thinking deep thoughts, Cy wallowing at his feet, and poor old toothless Nellie almost invisible among the tangle of clean baby clothes.
There must be a ball game on the TV just out of frame. It seems to soothe them all, even the dog.
We trooped up to the cemetery when I was a kid, but that was about it. My grandmother, who never let the chance to entertain pass her by, would call around nine on Memorial Day, suggesting something simple in the afternoon, a cookout with hotdogs and hamburgers and macaroni salad. We showed up with a couple of bags of chips and maybe some brownies, and it was as easy and wonderful as that.
Summer doesn’t officially begin until the solstice later in June, but Memorial Day is the emotional start of every kid’s summer, and most adults would agree. I am hoping for a few more weeks of mild and sympathetic weather, cool mornings, just enough sun and gentle rains to give my zinnias and tickseed, my false indigo a good start. A few more days, maybe, before those big guys show up, although I also want them to hurry.
And there it is. The way time moves, and doesn’t move, and our relationship to it. The way we don’t have time, and do, and how we can sit on the porch and watch the world go by, or gin around and make macaroni salad for the bunch.
And sometimes all of that in single day, an easy day at that.
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