Well, it’s not exactly the terrace. What it is is the view from “my barn” where I spend a lot of time listening to Merle ’n Willie, dodging the blonde’s never-ending efforts to rescue her husband from “sorry white trash” living, and contemplating what it is I want to “opine” on in this space.
So, here I sit … looking through a 6-pane window when two things occur to me.
1. The late Johnny “Tarzan” Weissmuller may not be “late” at all. He may be hid out in the verdant (love words like that) foliage that camouflages my brick patio rather well.
2. If God ever decides to patent all His aforementioned foliage, He would be one very wealthy person. If it’s not for sale at Lowe’s or Walmart, it’s for sale at any of those independent nurseries you find on just about every corner.
To paraphrase the old miner of the mountains …
“Thar’s gold in them thar hothouses!”
Peering through a maze of hanging purple somethings, booming orange and white somethings, three huge planters of green-and-purple somethings, four towering palmetto “ferns,” three pepper plants and one tomato plant, it also comes to me that if not “Tarzan,” there has to be at least three monkeys and maybe a two-headed snake out there somewhere.
Whenever I’m headed for the patio, I get out my great-uncle’s World War I leggings for protection.
Also, let me make a few other things clear.
The reason I use “something” so much is an admission that I haven’t the faintest idea of what those “somethings” out there are listed as in the Great Book of Gardening.
I can tell you if it’s cotton or corn or rattlesnake beans or roses (which I dealt with last Sunday), but the things they sell in the “garden” shop at Lowe’s are of foreign design to me.
Secondly, let it also be known that the blonde (referred to as The Great Gardenerness in last Sunday’s essay on Knockout Roses) is the culprit.
Having grown up on a one-row John Deere “putt-putt” farm owned by my paternal grandfather (James Houston Smith), I have little if any attraction for things of the dirt.
That is unless it’s on the table and fried.
The Great Gardnerness has a different upbringing.
She, too, was raised on a one-row tractor (Farmall) farm. But as the only daughter of John and Aileen Vice, she seldom got closer to dirt than carrying water to the fields for her two brothers.
The view from her mom’s kitchen — where she learned to cook better than anybody living or dead — was wonderful. Flowers and trees and green fields without the heavy price of labor are indeed attractive.
Thirdly, while I had no hand in the purchase of all that verdant pottage out there, I do have a firm idea of what it’s costing my Son-And-Heir in my death benefits. The Visa bill each month is testimonial enough.
Whatever, I have to admit that from my barn window the Great Gardnerness’s patio is pleasing to the eye. Even with the melancholy words of Porter Wagoner’s “Green, Green Grass of Home” coming from the stereo.
Other than when I have to turn off Willie and grab the garden hose do I feel a bit put out with the way my past comes back to haunt me from time to time.
It is also a bit scary that for two consecutive Sundays, I have talked with you (first) about watering roses and then cotton and corn and rattlesnake beans.
But, if nothing else, it could be considered a bit of serving beyond the terms of my contract with Mother Consolidated, the parent company of this newspaper.
It’s a reach, but I’ve noticed of late that Brett Buckner, The Great Gardener, has sort of let “The Dirt” column fade a bit. Proud fatherhood takes precedence any old time.
It could be that somewhere in my subconscious I feet the call to sort of “take up the slack,” so to speak.
George Smith can be reached at 256-239-5286 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org