Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Chatting With Bobby Earl at the Filling Station

"I'd like to have a garden," Bobby Earl said, "but they're too much work."

"Tell me about it. I've got this one plant that I spend at least an hour taking care of every week."

"An hour? For one plant? That's ridiculous. Must be one of them fancy roses or something. But that's just when you first set it out, right? After that, you leave it alone."

"I wish it were that easy."

"Where'd you get this thing?"

"It was growing in the yard when we bought the house."

"Well, at least you weren't fool enough to pay good money for it. You wouldn't believe what some of them gardeners pay for plants."

"Actually, I do spend quite a bit on money on this plant."

"How much?"

"Maybe $200 bucks."

"On one plant?"

"On one plant. And that's not counting the machine."

"You gotta have a special machine for it?"

"Two actually. One of them I only need once a year, so I pay a guy who has one."

"And this is included in the $200, right?"

"No. Tack another $75 onto the bill."

"This must be some plant."

"You could say that."

"At least you aren't wasting your money on those prissy annuals--pansies and such. People buy 'em, they grow for 6 months, then they dig 'em up and plant something else. Dumbest thing I've ever heard."

"Well, this one's a perennial, but..."

"But what?"

"It starts to look scraggly and uneven after a year or two, so you're better off replacing it each spring."

"And how much does a new one cost?"

"60 dollars."

"You went to college, right?"


"Your parents should have gone to Daytona with that money instead. Didn't you learn nothin' in four years?"

"I was an English major. I read novels."

"Figures. See, if I went and bought some plant like this, people would want to make it illegal because dumb@$$es like me don't know no better than to spend our hard-earned paycheck on mess like that. "

"You've got a point."

"So what's this plant look like? It better be pretty."

"It's green."

"Do I look stupid? I'm talkin' about the flowers!"

"It doesn't have flowers."

"So what's it have? No wait, don't tell me--I read those garden magazines too--lemme see--it's got "a graceful, arching form" or "interesting texture that contrasts nicely with showy blossoms in the cutting garden."

"That's good...you want to be a guest blogger sometime?"

"Seriously, what's so great about this plant? Must be one of them "exotic ornamentals" from China or somewhere."

"I wouldn't call it 'exotic.' Or 'ornamental."

"You know what I'd call it? Gone. I'd yank that thing out of the ground, throw it in the truck, and haul it out to the woods. Then I'd plant something normal in it's place."

Something in Bobby Earl's words struck a nerve. Something so rare that I had forgotten what it sounded like. But there was no mistaking. It was Common Sense.

"You know something, Bobby Earl? You're right. It's stupid to spend that much time and money on one plant. Especially when you need to take out a second mortgage to keep it watered in droughts. Which I didn't do."

"So yours is dead."

"Dead. Brown, ugly, dead."

Bobby Earl shook his head and directed a stream of tobacco juice across the hood of his Monte Carlo. "So you gon' dig it up?"

"You're damn right. I don't have time to be messing with it, what with everything else I have to do in my garden. Wanna help?"

"I might show up about the time you finish, just to see what's left of this King MacDaddy plant. It must have been something's all I can say. What did you say it was called?



Marvie said...

Hehehe thanks for the giggle! I'll be laughing about this post all morning (which might make getting the dishes done much more fun!)

Mary said...

LOL! You had me, David. I wondered throughout the whole dialogue...

On the news last night, a man in Charlotte hired a crew to spray paint his grass green. Looking at his home made me think he could obviously afford it. It looked very nice but I think that's absurd. Do people love their grass that much???

WilBlg4Yrn said...


Jen said...

I love this post!! You should try and get it published in the paper!

Pam/Digging said...

I should have seen the punchline coming, but you got me. Funny! So *do* you actually have any grass in your yard?

Blackswamp_Girl said...

LMAO!!! What a great post. Please, please, please pitch it to some gardening magazine... just so more people can read it!

DixieRedHead said...

LOLOL!! great post!

Michelle said...

Brilliant! Very nicely written and lovely surprise at the end, I was literally wondering the whole time what awesome plant you had stashed back at your place!

LCShores said...

Oh, I figured it was grass from the beginning, but that's because I feel exactly the same way! I just cannot understand all the work, money, and chemicals people pour into theirs. Maybe that's why the garden is taking over mine....

Wrenna said...

So are you going to dig it up? If you want you can come and practice at my house!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

This is funny, I guess what makes it even funnier to me because it is so true to life. The efforts we go to to maintain a lawn seems kind of crazy when you put it that way.
When my m-i-l first got Alzheimer's she would sit in her yard all day and pull her grass, leaving huge spots in the yard. The only thing we could figure out was she was remembering her childhood when they had dirt yards.

David in Greensboro, NC said...

Glad to make that chore easier, Marvie! Thanks for visiting!

Mary, there's a condition known as "having more money than sense."

wilblg4yrn--Then my post was successful!

Thanks, Jen. Maybe I will.

Thanks Pam. I have way too much grass, but it's all dead now.

Thanks Blackswamp. I need to do that. My "writing hero" Pat McManus, says he became a humor writer after selling two articles: one was a science piece that required a month of research and fetched $200; the other was a humor piece that took 20 minutes and brought in $500.

Thanks Dixie Redhead, and welcome!

Thanks Michelle!

Good for you, LCShores. Let the garden take over!

Yep, Wrenna, I am going to dig it up. Not all at once, but a big section of it is coming out as soon as we get some rain and I can dig. And you know what? Just as soon as I'm finished, I'll come to your house, so get out your 2011 calendar!

Thanks Robin. you may be right about your m.i.l. It's interesting and touching how the mind goes back so far in the past sometimes with Alzheimers.

Thanks everyone for your comments. I'm always flattered when so many people enjoy what I've written. And Bobby Earl says "hey" to everybody too.

Gina said...

oh david - thou art so clever.

Marion in Savannah said...

I howled! The mostly-weeds in my front yard get mowed, and I'm replacing almost everything in the back with raised beds. With the strong approval of the lovely man who does all the heavy garden work for arthritic little me. Wonderful post -- I'm going to show it to Joe who mows and builds beds for me, and he'll howl too.

LostRoses said...

This grass-lover didn't have a clue what plant you were talking about, but it's so true and so funny! Patrick McManus - I haven't thought of him in years. But I used to laugh myself sick reading him! Good mentor, and great post!

Iris said...

Very Tim Cahill, if you ask me. Hilarious!

Q said...

Dear David,
LOL!!! I do not understand the grass idea at all.
We have a a muti-culture lawn that every year gets smaller and smaller.
Enjoyed this so much.

kate said...

Great post! You have me laughing ... the good thing about getting rid of a lawn is that you can take all the money saved and spend it on lots of plants...

Mary T said...

About half way down I was guessing it was going to be grass!! THANK YOU so much for this wonderful post-- first one I've seen at your blog. Made me grin and chuckle and I will definitely need to put a link to your blog on mine. Mary t

David in Greensboro, NC said...

Thanks, Gina. Glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks Marion. Say "hey" to Joe for me.

Lostroses--I read Pat M so much that I can still quote some of his writing verbatim.

Thanks Iris!

Thanks Sherri! Your lawn sounds more interesting than mine.

Now you're talkin' Kate!

Thanks Mary T, and welcome!

Carolyn gail said...


I've been seriously delinquent in visiting your blog but now I'm paying by spending time to catch up on all your great posts.

Bobby Earl could be a character right out of a Southern novel. You really captured him. We have a lot of simple folks with tons of common sense and no college education.

You should send this story to Reader's Digest " Life in these United States. " It's a real winner.