I am trying to type around the 15-pound, stripy body of my cat, Winston. He is glad I am home. I had the nerve to be gone for two hours at garden club.
In case you're thinking, "Funny. June never mentioned her love of gardening" (for some reason this just reminded me of the movie Airplane. "That's funny. Bob never vomits at home." Oh, that movie makes Pepsi come out my nose.) that would be because I have no love of gardening. I suck at it.
I always want to be one of those people who have lovely flowers in their yard, who can't wait to get out to the dirt. Instead, I go every year and spend $11,000 on pansies and Johnny Jump-Ups (which may actually be a fancy word for pansies, but whatever) and peonies and all sorts of things, only to murder them painfully by July. My picture is up as a Most Wanted at the plant post office.
Obviously, there was no purchasing of doomed pansies and such this year. But someone asked me to join this club and I said okay.
Actually it went more like:
Athletic, no-nonsense older woman in straw hat: "You'll join our garden club."
Me: "Oh, I'm terrible at gardening."
No-nonsense: "I'll pick you up at 9:45 Wednesday."
So, we gathered at the oldest home in our town, which is now a lovely museum. There were 9 million vats (or are they called flats? Or are flats just shoes? Again, whatever.) of pansies, snapdragons (which the women all called "snaps." I have to learn the lingo) and large, scary gardening equipment.
There were maybe 20 of us. Everybody was dressed for gardening, yet somehow managed to look adorable. I don't think I've told you how well-dressed people tend to be in the South. There is not a lot of trendiness -- I no longer have to look at 58-year-old women rockin' the sleeveless mini, and I mean you, Farrah Fawcett -- but everyone always looks very...neat.
We ate, and we stood around in the backyard of this lovely 1700s home, and everyone looked tidy and cute, and I thought, "I like this garden club! I'm gonna have some more ham on a biscuit!"
It was then that the woman who drove me there started barking the orders. I will try to capture her accent.
WE NEED FO-A PEOPLE TO GO TO THE COURTHOUSE! WE NEED FO-A SNAPS AND FIVE PANSIES IN EACH PLANTA! THE COLORS MUST BE PURPLE, YELLA, AND VARIGATED WHITE! PINK SNAPS! PINK SNAPS, EDNA, WHAT'D I TELL YOU!?!
You have never seen genteel, embroidered t-shirted women move so fast. Suddenly wheelbarrows, enormous clippers and potting soil was everywhere. We apparently go to each public site: the library, courthouse, etc. and do all the gardening.
And we are not talking about just a little digging and weeding. Sister, I PULLED enOURmous vines of kudzu and ivy out of the ground. I sawed, I clipped, I sweated like the manual laborer that I was. And if you think they just used me because I was the spry young 42-year-old, you are so wrong. These women were way better than me, out there in the hot sun, sawing and gossiping.
In two hours, this town looked glorious. It really was satisfying to see all the weeds gone and the kudzu cut back for the next four minutes until it grows again. And I got to work out and eat for free!
Garden Club rocks.