Remember my blog post from a week or so ago titled “Driving With Ms. Daisy?”
Well, here’s another one because if I don’t write down these stories as they happen, I’ll forget them, and they’re just too damned funny not to share.
Ms. V had decided that she wanted to plant some “flerers” (flowers) in the back of her ground floor condo because “That thare gravel jest don’t look right.” During this past winter, the gentleman who owned a condo three or four doors down from her had passed, and his beautiful red and yellow Crown of Thorns bushes were being neglected. She’d checked with the person who was looking after the condo and asked if she could transplant them into her own garden. Ms. V got the go ahead and was waiting for the perfect day to move them over to her place. After all, she’d already told me “Heck, I might as wall (well) take ‘em cause he ain’t gonna be using ‘em anymore!”
Good point… I guess.
Well, Tuesday was that day.
I’m not quite sure if it was the fact she woke up earlier than usual (around 5:30 am), or if she thought that doing hard physical labor in 80F degree heat with a Humidex rating of 90% would somehow help her lose 5 pounds from digging those plants out were the cause of her decision to do it that particular morning.
When I finally saw her text to me that morning about potentially going shopping, (that’s a whole other story for another day), I responded saying I’d love to go out with her, but I didn’t get an answer. So I took a stroll out by her place only to find her digging up the plants wearing a lovely white blue tank top, white capris… and glittery blue rhinestone encrusted flip flops. Oh, and using ONE work glove she’d found on the sidewalk. (When asked about her Michael Jackson impersonation of wearing one glove, she replied “I kin’t (can’t) but haul on only one piece of plant at a time!”)
Keep in mind here that this Crown of Thorns plant has ½” spikes sticking out all over its stem which if touched will cause you to bleed faster than water running out of a busted water pipe.
Ms. V is in pretty good shape, but I’d worked up a light sweat just walking the 200’ to where these plants were located, and you could cut the humidity with a knife it was so thick. Me, being slightly crazy and not really awake, decided to go give her a hand.
So back I go to Ms. Ohio’s place, (I just call the people here by the state they’re originally from – easier to remember them that way), ask her if I can borrow one of her old t-shirts and heavy work gloves, and off I go to give Ms. V a hand.
By the time I get back to her, she’s got one of the spikes dug out lying on the ground. Wielding that pitchfork l
ike she was stabbing the very Devil to death, she was trying to dislodge the main plant which was about 8” around and I’m sure, buried at least two feet deep. The conversation went something like this:
“Ms. V, don’t you have a shovel?” said I, seeing that the plant wasn’t budging an inch no matter how hard she was leaning on that pitchfork.
“’Yars’ (yes) I do, but I done left it up at my condo. It’s “learning” (leaning) on the perch (porch) wall and I’m too lazy to go git it.”
I retrace my steps, get the hoe, and go back to the scene of the grime, I mean crime. (Ms. V was now sporting some mud on those bright, shiny blue flip flops.)
“You move over to the side and I’ll start digging to see if I can’t get some of the soil to move around the base of this plant” I said, proceeding to dig away.
Dear lord in heaven, I swear the ground surrounding that plant had been baking in the Florida heat for 30 years! It was harder than cement and the size of the shovel base was about the equivalent to a large garden spade. I wasn’t making much of a difference. (I think Jimmy Hoffa might be in there somewhere!) At this point I felt sweat starting to build up at the back of my neck.
“Pass me the pitchfork, Ms. V, and let me try moving it with that.”
“Hare you go,” she said, passing me the tool. She then proceed to literally bend over and haul one of the smaller shoots out by hand, saying “If I a wanna somethin’ done it’s gonna git done, one way or ta other!”
Whoosh! Out comes that Crown of Thorns so fast it almost hit me. I’d switched to the shovel thinking I could make better headway and laid down the pitchfork on the ground close to Ms. V. When I saw that huge stem popping out, I turned around fast to avoid the thorns and stepped on the pitchfork handle. You know what? Those cartoons where they show the doofus being hit in the head because they stepped on the handle of a pitchfork are totally correct! Thankfully I dodged the upcoming handle and avoided being knocked out cold.
I picked up the @#*! pitchfork, drove it into the cement-like ground with every ounce of strength I had, and started digging.
An hour later, after I had sweat so much I could have wrung out a gallon of water from my bra, we’d relocated “them thare” plants which were now transplanted at the back of Ms. V’s lanai. She wanted me to place some of the shoots over to the side, pointing to the middle of the space saying “Jest dig a hole thare. I think a piece of two of them would look right nice thare, don’t you?” I shoved that pitchfork into the spot she indicated and it fetched up against something solid. That’s when I noticed what was either an electrical box or sprinkler system sticking out of the ground about a foot a way and called a halt to further excavation.
I’m now officially toast.
I can not move a muscle, I stink to the high heavens, have dirt all down my legs and arms, yet other than muddy blue rhinestone studded flip flops, Ms. V, always the Southern genteel lady, looks like she’s just gone for a stroll in the park.
Moral of this story? Never, ever underestimate the stamina or strength of a Southern belle because she’ll beat you into the ground every time.
And after seeing Ms. V drive that pitchfork into that almost solid rockbed, I hope I never, ever piss her off.
PS – I told Ms. V that after going through all that trouble to transplant those “flerers” I expect to get pictures sent to me via email every six months on the progress of our work. Those suckers had better live!