Sunday, June 17, 2007
Parents Who Aren't Crazy
Teresa and I dropped by my parents' house for a Father's Day visit today, and as usual, came back with a trunkful of plants courtesy of the Hellebore Queen (also known as my mother.) If you walked around my yard and I showed you all the plants that she's given me, you would assume that her yard is a bare field by now. You would be mistaken.
My mother is probably the person most responsible for my addiction to plants. When I was about five, on one of our many trips to Mr. Miles' nursery, she bought me my very first plant. It was some sort of evergreen, I think maybe a euonymus; something easy to grow and impossible to kill (the kind of plants I still like best.) I planted it beside the garage of our house on Oak Street, watered it way more than necessary, talked to it, and pruned it whether it needed pruning or not. (Give a kid some pruners and he's going to cut something.) My evergreen thrived under, or perhaps in spite of, my care, and for many years after we moved from that house, it was still growing beside the garage.
My father has been working on a project in the back yard. Their deck was in worse shape than ours, as difficult as that may be to believe, so he ripped it off and is building a patio and a raised bed, and installing a pond. My father is much more capable than I when it comes to building things...that noise you hear is my wife cackling at the understatement. Any construction project more permanent than a sand castle is beyond my ability. I might be more handy had I paid more attention to him when I was younger.
He did, however, teach me how to catch fish and fly balls, so his work as my dad wasn't totally wasted. Most importantly, he taught me to do what I wanted with my life, not what other people thought I should do. That's the thing I appreciate the most about him, because a lot of people, especially eldest sons, don't exactly get that message from their dads.
If you have good parents, you probably take them for granted. I still do, though maybe not quite as much now that I'm older. I see people every day who are screwed up because of well-meaning but nutty parents, and I'm thankful that I don't have any "issues" that I need to get over. (Have you noticed how nobody has "problems" any more? They all have "issues.") I probably started out in life three steps ahead of most people because my parents weren't crazy.
So, Da and Mama, thanks for the plants, and for everything else you've given me these past 38 years. Happy Father's Day!