Friday, February 15, 2008

When We Always Want to Know Why Is This Happening--to ME--AGAIN

We hadn’t been living in our new-to-us house for very long when I was called over by my neighbor. It was the first of only four times we were to speak to one another—we didn’t have problems, but she was from an old society family and we were just folks from some place else. She wanted to discuss the magnolia spread far into both of our yards. “This magnolia gives me lots of pleasure,” she said. “Even though its trunk is on your property, you are to do nothing to harm this tree. It is very old, it is magnificent and it is a great treasure.” I have no depth perception. To me that tree stretched to the sky and was round enough at the bottom to house a forest of magnolias. The birds loved it, Mrs. Society-Jones loved it, I loved it.

Mrs. S-J died and the family with teenagers moved in next. They must have loved the tree, too, because the ground underneath was often littered with beer cans and whiskey bottles. I am sure whole packs of high-schoolers used the tree for their rites of passage, it was that big, so they could hide and the grown-ups would never know what they were doing under there, and I didn’t want to know. When those people left (and the neighborhood breathed a sigh of relief), a family with a small child bought the house.

Not long after I stepped outside and found the father grimly raking leaves from around the tree. We had never raked; we weren’t the raking kind. I said hello, found out he was preparing for a family party. He said as if I were at some way at fault for his misery, “I hate magnolias. They’re trashy. We had one when I was growing up. I had to rake it. I swore when I was grown, I would never live with another magnolia.”

I looked at him, and then looked up at the tree. Up and up and up and up. I said, “Didn’t you see that magnolia before you moved in?”


Mrs. G. said...

SNAP! Excellent point.

Mary Alice said...

ummm....exactly. For the record, I think magnolias are one of those things that are worth the trouble.

Nicole said...

My previous comment was lost in cyberspace, and may have been better, but it went something like this:

AWESOME! WOW! That so perfectly went straight to my heart where I have been raking, raking, raking! And right under that big magnolia tree that was there that I just didn't look up long enough to see.

It's perfect.


FOR SALE: Rakes in assorted sizes, of varying levels of wear. Best offer. Also a wheelbarrow.


bipolarlawyercook said...

What a jackass. Anything that brings me the first flowers of the year is worth a little leaf litter.

tumbleweed said...

magnolias in flower always take my mind back to New Orleans 1983...another place, another time. this dry corner of the island i now inhabit barely supports them, unless in dreams