Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's birdbath

Another story about my late mother-in-law.  I think I've said how incredibly gorgeous she was, and how, even in her 80's, she would walk into a room, and every eye would turn in her direction.  Part of it was just sheer good looks, but she had style and fabulous taste and wore clothes beautifully.

One time, when she came here to visit, she had some great-looking earrings that I'd never seen before.  I complimented her on them, and the next day she wore them again.  Once more, I made a fuss over the earrings.  Finally, on the third day, she appeared with the earrings, and I went on again about them.  All of a sudden, she snapped them off and thrust them in my hands.  "Here, if you love them so, I want you to have them."

I was so embarrassed.  I had definitely crossed a line in my compliments and must have sounded like I wanted to have them for myself.  I bring this up, because Margaret Moseley and I have a joke about the rusty birdbath pictured above.  I have photographed it many times throughout the seasons and am always saying how great it looks with so many different types of plants.  One day, I was going on about the birdbath for the umpteeth time, and Margaret said, "Why don't you take it, since you love it so?"

I told Margaret about my mother-in-law's earrings (which I did not accept), and she started laughing.  So, now, every time I show her a photo of the bird bath, we get tickled.  "There's your birdbath," she will say.

But, the reason I'm posting this photograph today is not about our joke.  The picture was taken on April 17, 2009.  Today is April 17th, and if I were in Margaret's garden taking pictures, this scene would be very different.  The tall scillas you see have been spent for at least a month or more.  Like so many other spring plants, they bloomed way early.  In fact, Margaret and I were talking today, and she said she'd seen early springs before, but nothing like this.  "You'd have warm spells, but things would eventually even out.  Not this year," she said.

So, we'll see how this all plays out next spring for comparison.   Meanwhile, I'm going to try to avoid talking about the birdbath.  Since the thing weighs a ton, it's safe to say I won't be walking away with it.  However, that doesn't mean that I won't be coveting it in secret.


  1. If you had Mrs. Moseley's birdbath and my brass quail faucet to drip water into it to keep it fresh, what a combo!

    I've been meaning to go back and see what year we had the killing frost on April 15, maybe 2001? Every year is different. Enjoy.

  2. Oh. A brass quail faucet. I always admired those. On March 23, 2008, we had what I now call the Easter freeze. The day before I went to my Jewish friend's garden to gather flowers for our Easter cross, because I knew the next morning, there wouldn't be any. And there weren't. Everything was frozen. Some of my Hydrangea macrophyllas that were injured in that freeze are going to bloom for the first time this year. I think the temps went down into the 20's. I remember freezing on Easter morning, as we tried to make the cross work with no flowers from people's yards.

  3. For several years a dear friend and I attended the Southeastern Flower Show together. Each year I wore the same jacket with flower appliques on it (purchased at Cracker Barrel on sale), and the same pin which had gardening tools hanging from it and said "I HEART gardening." (I had bought the pin at the Mervyn's store in Shannon Mall, so you can guess how long ago that was.) My friend coveted the pin, and I mean REALLY coveted it, but we always joked about it, and discussed how she shouldn't "covet" it. She and I taught Sunday School together. One Sunday she was wearing a lovely pair of pink earrings. I commented on how pretty they were. Her reply: "I'll give them to you if you'll give me THE PIN!" Little did she know that morning, the Sunday before Valentine's Day, I was inspired to put THE PIN in a gift bag for her. I gave her the bag and cautioned her not to open it until she got home. That afternoon she called, bawling her eyes out: "OH, you gave me THE PIN! I called my daughter and told her about it; she said maybe you'd found a replica somewhere and bought it for me." "Nope,", I told her; "It's the original THE PIN." She said, "Oh, no, I can't take "THE PIN!"... "Yes you can," I replied, "Because you're going to bring me those pink earrings next Sunday!" Well, she did bring me the pink earrings; she kept THE PIN; and we've both enjoyed wearing these items for years! Every time I wear the pink earrings, I get compliments on them, and usually tell the special story about how they found their way to my ears! Robertine Mitchely

  4. This story reminds me of O. Henry's Gift of the Magi. I love it!