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.

Near 500 words about this or that or the other

I know. I know. This post isn’t quite 500 words. But it could be. You see, it’s time to make a decision.

It’s been a long and winding road with Lady P.P. Now something says that I should let it be. At least, for a while. What shall I do with Wednesdays? Over the past several years, I have posted longer pieces for the Wednesday posties.

I spent all of 2014 on a short story blitz. A famous short story became a prompt for one of my short stories. In 2015, Uncle Bardie took on “Hamlet”. In 2016, it was the humorous novel, “Politics in America” which really couldn’t compete with real life American politics. 2017 was the Year of Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott.

So what now? I’ve been debating. I do have some ideas. Possibly a humorous mystery novel, “The Great Squirrel Caper”.

But then again, maybe I should take a break from the longer stuff and compose a number of five-hundred word pieces, give or take a few words. The pieces will be about this or that or the other. Some humorous and others a bit serious. Nothing that causes the fumes to come out your ears. After all, this is entertainment, not earth-shaking.

Maybe give something a historical perspective, such as what were the Cave Dudes and Dudettes like. It’s always good to get back to the good ol’ days when I was something of a fool on a hill. Or reflect on a word like “wrangler”. Or just which end of a dragon does the flame shoot from. Or what would the Abominable Snowman wear on a hot summer night. Or it might be a short story. Or maybe I’ll just hang loose with Michelle or Lady Madonna.

The thing is that I shall try to keep it as close to five hundred words. No long speeches.

And you being my faithful followers, Uncle Bardie would love your input. You might even make a suggestion or two. As the Eliza Doolittle song goes:

A Thursday Special: Short Stories

There are a lot of novel recommends out here in the blogosphere but very few short story recommends. So I thought I would remedy that.

I love short stories. I love to read them, and I love to write them. For me, there’s nothing like finding a good short story. So here’s sixteen absolutely perfect short stories. Some are well-known, a few not-as-well-known.

If I were building an anthology of short stories, these would be the ones I would choose. Each I have read at least ten times. Some more. So, if you are looking for a quick read, here are some suggestions. Enjoy.

1.       Silent Snow, Secret Snow by Conrad Aiken
2.       Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin
3.       An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce
4.       Killings by Andre Dubus
5.       Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway
6.       The Last Leaf by O. Henry
7.       The Dead by James Joyce
8.       A Temporary Matter by Jhumpa Lahiri
9.       To Build a Fire by Jack London
10.   Walker Brothers Cowboy by Alice Munro
11.   The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
12.   I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen
13.   The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
14.   A Perfect Day for Bananafish by J. D. Salinger
15.   After Rain by William Trevor
16.   A & P by John Updike