Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Oh, snap!

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.


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.


Stie: My Favorite Things said...

You are just awesome. Love the descriptions - can picture the scene perfectly. Loves it!

Becky said...

This is the funniest post I've read in a LONG time. I love your blog. And I love your sense of humor.

Catherine said...

I used to say "I think gardening would be such a great hobby... if I liked to do that sort of thing." Now that I have room to garden, I like to buy flowers in pots and put them on the deck. If I get really ambitious, I will buy a perennial and have Zoe dig a hole for it. I like the unplanned look.

I think it's great that you're immersing yourself in the culture down there -- and I'm glad you had fun!

Anonymous said...

You make me want to join garden club. Hopefully a post about Bingo night is coming next....?


dcrmom said...

You go, girl!!

Anonymous said...

Your Grammy would be so very proud of you cutting the Kudzu. So many kudzu stories & so little time.

Bronwyn said...

Book club (how's that goin', by the way?), gardening club, pretty soon there will be a dinner club, a koffee klatzsch or however you spell that word. Isn't it fun to have people be so nice to you in a small town? It freaked me out for a while, but then I got to take it for granted, and enjoy it.

And, update on the style guide, please! Did you buy it or didn't you? And whatever happened with dinner with Mr. H? Don't leave us hanging!

emilyhope said...

LOL! I can just picture you and your garden club. I am terrible.. no green thumb here. Sounds like you had fun though. Love the southern accents you wrote in... FO-A! That is the way we talk in the south.

sabrina duncan said...

I was gardening last weekend too and after encountering spiders and COCKROACHES I told Bosley that I was done, done, done with gardening and bug-communing.

But more importantly: what ARE you doing gardening? Since you've moved, you have walked up hills (without a Kurt Cobain memorial), gone to church, become the church secretary and now this??? Book club, that made sense. This is all a whole-new-Southern-belle June. My head is spinning.

By the way, have you seen Frances Bean recently? There was a red carpet pic of her in one of those intellectual publications that we so adore.

Blue Skies said...

That sounds fabulous! Gardening and the instant transformation you get to enjoy afterwards, what a sweet reward for the effort. I second that observation that Southern Women are very "neat". Not here in Florida, but just about every other Southern state I've been to has that dress code that says "Don't even think about stepping out to go anywhere without being pressed and coiffed". Really nice in a way but also somewhat of a burden in another way.

Sid Leavitt said...

I nominate 'enOURmous as the best accent catch of the year. Brilliant.

misskate said...

kudzu, the vine that ate the South. I try to explain it to my students and it's just beyond their comprehension. Yes, boys and girls, this plant literally grows right before your very eyes. Listen closely, that rustling is not the wind, that rustling is the kudzu stretching its fingers...
Speaking of interacting with the world outdoors, you never did share the story of the Nature Preserve (while your Aunt Mary of the jewelry visited). I'd love to hear the tale. June 1 Mother Nature 0 (I'm guessing that would be the scoreline as you got out of the nature preserve)

Tee said...

LOL! Loved your southern accent. Be careful, you'll be talking just like us after a while. :-)

Emily said...

Garden club IS so cool! I wanna join!