Jennifer Aniston and Front Yard Gardening

I think I told you that I bought a bunch of plants the other day. 

Now it's time to work those gluts and test those core muscles (or what's left of them after a couple of kids......) and get these guys in the ground. Don that hat, lather on that sunscreen, turn on that radio, and prepare to.........socialize.  Yes, working in my front yard is a very convivial activity.  As I dig and  water, a cast of characters will parade through my landscape, usually a welcome distraction and an opportunity to stretch my achin' back.  (Occasionally, especially if I am in my pajamas, I would prefer my gardening revelry not be interrupted.  In such cases, never look up or make eye contact in any way, so as to discourage visiting and keep those passers-by on their way......)

First up is my next door neighbor.  "Did you ever read that article in the paper about so-and-so's garden?  He had a nice story about St. Francis who said....(well something I can't remember, but I do remember it seemed a little too modern for St. Frank to be saying it) and isn't that nice......have you ever been to his garden?"  As I return to planting my third three-gallon lorapetalum, I keep thinking about gardening in that heavy brown monkish garb. (Wouldn't it be hot......and get stinky......and that cord around the waist get all muddy......and what about that bird constantly on his shoulder...and would St. Frank curse the squirrels like I do seeing as how he loves ALL creatures.....)

My great uncle, Father Romauld was a Franciscan monk  (seen here with my brothers and sisters, and my Edie Gourmet look-alike Aunt Helen) and to my recollection he wasn't stinky, laughed a lot, and was sweet, short, bald and loud.

That's him in the suspenders. I am the one in the red and blue checkered shirt.  At that age, and for many years after, I had a scowl on my face.  Of course, you  recognize Aunt Helen.  The other man is my Uncle Pete.  Growing up my brothers and sisters and I would always get it mixed up and call them Uncle Helen and Aunt Pete.  I don't know why, but we thought this was VERY funny.

The handsome tall Madmen looking guy is my dad.....

Now Fr. Romauld had a twin sister, Aunt Bernie....she is the one seated.  I don't know if that is her beer or not.  Somehow I am related to the other woman and the extra-credit Franciscan monk in the picture on the wall.  As I said, I am from a VERY large Catholic family.  

                                                                                                                 As I move on to the multiples gallons of Crimson Pygmy Berberi, a cursing plumber (having problems with my broken pipe apparently) emerges from the back yard.

As I stand to talk to him he tells me to wipe off the piece of dirt from my is bugging him apparently....thinks I'm trying to look like Madonna or something ( wasn't that Marilyn Monroe, anyway?)

Later, as a throw away remark, he asks me if I ever worry about being abducted from my front yard while gardening.  (, hadn't even thought about it, but will now, I guess.........jeez, thanks for the thought.......)

About ajuga-transplanting time, a buddy of mine working on the windows of a two story house across the street, descends from his ladder to stretch HIS back and say hey.  It's a very companionable thing.......his working across the street as I work in the front.....doing an honest day's work.....listening to the same radio music......(me thinking he could keep me from being abducted if any kidnappers happened by.......)

We talk for a moment, appreciating how the light is changing.  He tells me about his railroad garden, and how he has been moving moss around......later he will come over and show me some footage of his train moving through the landscape on his cell phone.  I will be appropriately impressed and tell him so.

This leads me to daydreaming about beautiful spaces, and front yards and drives I covet......

Like this humble, rustic approach to a property in Charlottesville, VA.

Then my husband comes home for lunch.  "Are you just in heaven working out here in your garden on this beautiful day?" he asks.  "Well, yes", I say as I walk up to him  "What's that on your boob?" he asks me.  I look down, half expecting him to say "Made you look!", and bop me on the nose and chin while laughing hysterically.  

But, no.  I have a big piece of dead leaf stuck to my breast, and he proceeds to brush it away.  "A guy gets whatever he can these days", he tells me in a manly way.

(Jeez!   Who do these guys think I'm trying to be........Jennifer Aniston or somebody...  I think I'll go inside and refresh my ice water........)

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