"What's the big rush? Is Gandma coming over?" My son asked.
"You know that those plants you're trying to drown now haven't seen any water for the past month or two. If they're still alive, which I doubt, a few minutes won't make a lot of difference any more." Frowning I looked closer at the pots scattered all over our new living room. He was right they sure looked sad.
"Instead of just standing there quickly drench those two weeds in the kitchen. Grandma is on her way here. When she sees, I haven't looked after these--these...organisms--properly she'll start one of her horticultural lectures,... again... wipe that smirk off your face I'll make you listen." I threatened. " Oh! and tell your sister to water the ones in the back of the house. Quick now." I called after him as I rushed to refill my watering can.
"For heaven's sake, if you don't like plants why do you have this greenhouse look-alike house?" He wanted to know.
"Just tell Gandma you don't want them and she should take them..." I stopped in mid-stride and looked at him with raised my eyebrows. "Just an idea..." he continued.
Every one of my Moms visits results in a new addition. What I was afraid of right now was that this being her first visit to our new home that definitely called for a 'housewarming' variety. I just knew it. I was grumbling under my breath complaining of all the space used up with greenery.
"How come you haven't got Grandmas way with plants." My daughter wanted to know. "Grandma has two thumbs and eight fingers and ten toes and each of those digits is greener than green. What happened to you?"
"What's this? Attack Mom day?" I asked. "You keep it up and I'll get Grandma to fill you're bedroom with those god awful cactuses. You know those gnarled looking dwarfy thingies with the duck-beaks."
I sighed "I really don't understand how she does it. Do you recall that 'Philicus-what-you-may-call-y-cus'? The one Aunt Marion gave me at the time when your sister was born. Remember, three or four months ago even though I watered it, according to her instructions, looked after it faithfully, it still died. Grandma really liked the fancy pot it was planted in. She took the darn thing, guess what she is returning it today, supposedly it's all nice and bushy now. I swear that thing-a-ma-jig was dead. Just a stem and a few little matchstick branches left--not one bud or leaf. That traitor is actually growing tiny leaves all over."
Just as soon as I finished saying this, in walked my green-handed-footed Mom. No, 'walked' is not the right word. Breezed would describe it better. "Hello, here are all my 'sweatha-a-a-ats', come give me a hug and a big smooch. There is a surprise for each of you in the trunk. Will you bring them in? Can you also bring in the 'Dizygotheca elegantissima', carefully, wait till you see how gorgeous she looks." She said as she turned towards me. Missing the wicked grins of both, my son and daughter.
"Hi, Mom. How was your drive over?" I asked while I bent over to give my short-stop of a Mom a kiss on her cheek. Mom was only 5 foot and a 1/4 inch tall, and already at twelve my son was towering over her.
"Hello, dear. Before I forget, I need all your empty hanging planters. The Chlorophytums, you know, the ones in the grand room have been making babies with all this nice warm weather we've been having. I want to pot them," Mom continued all in one breath. Turning Mom acknowledged my blank look, "...the spider plants dear, I will pot some for you too."
"Please none for me I'm running out of space here. But further more, doesn't that violate professional ethics? Mom, I think you'll need to read the article in the paper on planned parenthood. How many spider plants do you think Canada can support?" I teased.
Just then Mom pulled her hand out from behind her back and breathed "Happy housewarming, Honey" while she places the weirdest looking potted cactus into my hands. (the ugly kind, the one that looks all gnarled and has a duck bill instead of a flower)
I resignedly sighed as I shrugged my shoulders. "Thanks, but Mom, I asked you please not to give me any more of your neurotic plants. It looks like we're moving into a greenhouse rather than into our new home" I moaned.
"No, no dear, they're not neurotic. They're just set in their ways. Like that 'ficus lyrata' over there. It doesn't like to be moved. Also it really doesn't seem to like where you've put it, one least bit. It's losing its leaves." So she moved the pot over three inches. "Much better!"she muttered.
"How can it be better here??? You moved it a smidgen. I give-up. I guess I should have abandoned it at the old house." I pouted.
Mom just gave me a confused look and I think she considered that suggestion a low blow but chose to ignore the comment by focusing on the object of her concern. "Actually, I'll believe it'll recover. See---a new shoot." She bent over the disgruntled tree and twisted it a little closer to the window.
I watched Mom's ministrations and shook my head and voiced my old complaint. "How can you keep bringing these poor defenceless plants into my care? They all just die slow, lingering deaths and then I feel guilty."
"Hmmm." Mom had heard similar queries before but examined an ivy or what ever it is. She felt the potting soil and gave me a look of gratified surprise.
I just smiled back blandly smug in the knowledge that I'd rushed to water it just this morning.
A closer examination produced an expression of sad resignation. "You're just not watering these regularly enough. Look---the ends of the leaves have turned brown."
And that is when I decided, at that particular minute in time, I realised why I never liked indoor plants. The trouble with plants is, I quickly shot the mute stool pigeon a malevolent look, those plants just talk too much.
It's very odd I can grow just about anything outdoors but don't give me too many indoor plants...
This short story is dedicated with love to the little Lady I really miss a lot, My Mom.
Since she's gone I've killed quite a few houseplants but for some reason or other my thumbs are changing color... I don't think I'll ever be like she was with her indoor-plants but I actually have a few that have been with me for the past fifteen years or so...
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