Thursday, October 25, 2012
"Guess what, honey? I have a surprise for you. It's something we've been wanting for a long time!"
What could it be? I wondered. A million dollars? Another grandchild on the way? No, there was something even more special waiting for me when I got home. It was a truck-bed full of pecan shells from the Renfroe Pecan Company. Can you believe it?
I rubbed my eyes because I had trouble believing what I was seeing. We were told earlier this year by the nice young man with the pecan-shell-mulch ad on Craigslist that he had an exclusive contract with the company to pick up their spent shells. So how did SAM finagle a truckload of the stuff? FOR FREE? Well, it turns out that the nice young man must have prevaricated. He stretched the truth. He told a fib. There was no contract with the company, and anyone can pick up a load of pecan shells.
Of course, lying comes so naturally to the human race, especially when money is at stake. Or witches, for that matter. Huh? You'll have to forgive me. Halloween is next week, there's a presidential election the week after, and I've been reading Mark Twain's account of The Mysterious Stranger. Or was it his biographer's account? There is a dispute over who really wrote the tale, and that's probably as it should be. As it turns out, the mysterious stranger is the Great Prevaricator, the Father of Lies, known in one version of the story as No. 44.
Once we got over the shock of being "misled" (it sounds so negative to call it being lied to), we were delighted to find nuts in the mix. Lots of them in fact. Five pounds (about $45 worth if purchased at the grocery store) at least by my reckoning. I have to wonder why there were none in the previous load from the pecan-shell guy. It took us a while to sort through this pile. The neighbors were sure staring, but we were past caring.
"Can't I have both?" he asked.
He's pretty sharp, that one: another good knife in the drawer, a chip off the old block, or a nut that didn't fall far from the tree. SAM said his great-grandpa would have been delighted with him.
Getting back to Mark Twain's story setting of Eseldorf ("ass-ville"), I have to wonder why there was nothing like a good fish story in the midst of it. Animals did play a big part. A faithful dog and a magic cat were presented but no fish. Well, except for the ones that kept multiplying in the frying pan when unexpected company showed up for dinner. That's even better than a whopper of a story about the fish that got away. Or trying to convince someone that some fish have teeth like we do. Yes, sheepshead have human-like teeth. Or do we have sheepshead-like teeth? If Darwin's theory is correct, then the fish were here first, right? Humans came much later. If only fish could talk. I'm sure they wouldn't lie. They have no Moral Sense. Strange. That's what kept getting Twain's Eseldorf-ians in trouble. It should be what keeps us out of trouble.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
The cabins were there or at least they were standing. A "Dead End" sign seemed more than appropriate for them now.
The cabins' window-blinds were sagging and wrinkled like the lids on an old woman's eyes--hey, I'm beginning to resemble that remark. No signs of recent life appeared. Still, I thought I heard the ghosts of loud whispers and giggles from girls sneaking over to the boys' cabin in the middle of the night. Rules and raging hormones somehow cannot coexist in the mind of a teenager. Our teacher, Mr. R, surely must have known that nothing short of a barb-wire fence surrounded by punji stakes could separate the girls from the boys at the end of a week-long field trip away from parental supervision. Back then, I guess school authorities and parents giving their permission were fairly naive about such things. Mr. R and his 18-year-old daughter were our only chaperones for the trip.
Considering the present state of Illinois' economy, the park's condition wasn't too shabby. But I did find the lack of signs about the park's history somewhat shameful. Who, for instance, built this wall?
Maybe a better question is why don't we utilize our state parks for similar purposes today? Why did traditional forms of therapy such as hydrotherapy and massage therapy fall out of favor with people interested in maintaining good health?
Thank goodness the end of the week-long trip that SAM and I made wasn't plagued by unanswered questions or shrouded by the mists of time and fading memory. We stopped on our way home to visit a gardening friend, one I'm sure that many of my visitors are familiar with: Tina of In the Garden fame.
She and Mr. Fix-It had an answer for every question, a wonderful supper for hungry guests, and warm hospitality for visitors who forgot how cold Tennessee weather can be in early October.
And of course, they had plants to share: asters, irises, cannas, and variegated Miscanthus.
I hope we can repay their kindness someday soon. It's been nearly four years since our last meeting in New Harmony, Indiana. I pray it's not so long until the next one.
|Hummingbird on my cold-hardy ginger|