My Black Thumb

 With Spring coming on, I thought this would be the perfect piece to welcome her.

In the long, long time ago, I thought it would be nice to grow some flowers. So I chucked down to the local nursery and asked what would be a good flower to plant. I was overwhelmed with suggestions from that crew. It was like going out to dinner with a bunch of friends. Eight to be exact and they’re all saying, “You gotta try this. And this. And this.”

I mean the staff at the nursery went on and on about annuals and perennials. They suggested hibiscus, azaleas, roses, zinneas, periwinkles, begonias, rain lilies, magnolias, camelias and  all the kinds of flowers. They just knew they’d spiff up my lawn.

Little did they know that my lawn eats cats and dogs for breakfast. I have seen the neighborhood cat running forty miles an hour just to get away from the darn thing. But I didn’t want to disappoint them. So I didn’t share anything about the villain.

I didn’t plan to plant the flowers anywhere near the lawn. I bought several earth boxes and took some of the flowers with interesting sounding names. Begonia sounded Irish, so I took the potential begonia along with a periwinkle and azaleas. The staff threw in an hibiscus for free and I was a happy camper.

The nursery gave me instructions on how to plant, nurse and grow these little cuties into big adult flowers. The instructions came in a roll as long as a roll of toilet paper. I also bought some accessories like a little shovel to dig a hole in the dirt.

It cost me a big chunk of change but it was worth it. I mean, when I left that place, I was a ready teddy. And I was feeling good about myself. I was ready to beat that global warming single-handed and with one hand tied behind my back.

I got home and set the earth box out on my porch. I put it in a spot my lawn couldn’t see just in case. I got out my tiny shovel and dug holes in the dirt and planted my flowers. I watered them nice-like. Then I went back in my house, got myself a beer and settled into my nice comfy chair. You wouldn’t believe the smile I had on my face. I had done a good day’s work and I couldn’t have been happier.

Well, over the next few weeks, I watered them flowers just like the instructions in Chapter 32 of my roll said. I did not feed them the cheap plant food. I gave them the Good Stuff. Day after day, I did this for about two weeks.

Then one night I woke up to the weirdest sounds. It sounded like the noise was coming from the earth box. I ran out to the flowers and all of them were choking. They were having trouble breathing. Several of them had gone to the Big Flower Box in the Sky. One of the periwinkles choked out, “Water, water, water.”

I ran and filled the watering can. I got to the box. The periwinkle said, “Not tap water. Bottled wa–” and he died. It was the end of my flower-planting career. I asked my neighbor what had happened. He said, “So you thought you had a Green Thumb. Well, guess what. You and I both have black thumbs. The best thing you can do is go down to that nursery. Start dating the first single woman you meet there. Then marry her. That way you’ll have a Green Thumb in the family.”

And that’s exactly what I did. She has a way with flowers. And my lawn loves her too. Her name is Petunia Tree.

haiku for the day: grass

Composing haiku is a good practice for a writer. The practice forces the writer to pay attention to the smallest detail. After practicing it for a while, the writer comes to understand that there are no wasted moments. No wasted details. No details is too small. A haiku is meant to be spontaneous to one’s environment, especially nature. To live in the moment. Unlike so many other literary forms, even poetry, a haiku is like a painting. It is made up of images, and only images.

dewy wetted grass
a green blanket on the lawn
tickly to the sole

Politics in America 38: Al Fresco alfrescoes the Place  

Al Fresco, the Presidential King Maker, was frantic. He was old friends with the CIA Director. The Director had told Al all that had happened in the Oval Office in Chapter 37. Stever the Cleaver was a Canadian. If he tried to attempt to assassinate Bessie Mae Hogg, he might get caught. The President would definitely be going after the Canadians.

And Al Fresco knew his history. During the War of 1812, the United States had invaded Canada and got whopped. It was about to happen again. For Al knew the Canadians were not about to be beat. Those guys really knew how to play hockey. The United States definitely did not want to take on guys like that.

However there was a problem. Stever the Cleaver was not contactible. When he was about to do a job, there was no contacting him for anything. His smartphone was off. His cell phone was off. His smart watch was off. His smoke signal detector was off. Nobody was about to contact the Cleaver.

To say that it was a dark and stormy night when Big Al Fresco headed across the back lawn of the White House is a bit like saying Canadians love hockey. Of course, they love hockey, and of course, it was a dark and stormy night. What other weather would you expect when Big Al was trying to track Stever the Cleaver down? And do it sneaky-like? If it had been a warm and sunny day, the Secret Service would have stopped him. In fact, it was so dark and stormy the weather made the words “dark and stormy” a cliché. And I’ve seen some clichés in my time. This really was a cliché.

Big Al slipped through the Gate and sneaked across the White House lawn toward Bessie Mae Hogg’s Pig Pen. To say that he was as wet as all-get-out was not stretching it none too much. He was as wet as all-get-out. And getting wetter all the time. It was so dark and stormy there was not a star in the sky and it looked like the moon had lost his way.

Big Al slipped and fell in a ditch the White House Lawn Guys were digging. For what reason, they were digging a ditch in just that place was anybody’s guess. They were government employees and we all know how far they will stretch themselves not to work.

“But digging a ditch is work,” you say. Of course, it’s work. That’s how far government workers will go to get out of work.

Big Al picked himself up out of that ditch. If he had been drenched before, he was drenched now with a cake of mud all over him. He was beginning to look like some monster that you might encounter on Halloween. He was regretting every political thing he had ever done. He was thinking it was time to look for a new line of work.

Not too far ahead of him, he saw his goal. Stever the Cleaver. The Cleaver was looking just as bad as Big Al, only worse. He had been out in the dark and stormy night a half hour longer than Big Al, so he was looking a half hour worse.

Big Al saw that The Cleaver had pulled his big gun with the big silencer out of its big holster. He was headed straight for the P F Sneaze’s Blue Ribbon pig. Big Al ran and he ran fast and tackled The Cleaver. The Cleaver, of course, was surprised. And when you surprise up on an assassin with a gun with a silencer out and ready to shoot his target, you have done a mighty lot of surprising. That’s how surprised The Cleaver was.

Big Al and Stever wrestled for the gun. If you are looking for an example of how much they wrestled, think Jacob and the Angel. It was one whopper of a wrestling match. First Big Al had the upper hand, then The Cleaver, then Big Al, then The Cleaver.

It got to the point where everything came to a draw. That was when it happened. The gun with the silencer went off.

Next Week The Beat Goes On