My mother could not tell a joke. She could not remember them, lacked the gift of timing and must have learned early not to try.

She told amusing family stories such as the time her family took the wagon over to the mountain to pick huckleberries.

A storm came up and they took shelter under the wagon. Thunder scared the mule, who took off with buckets of berries banging around in the back.

They got soaked to the skin and lost all the berries.

I guess you had to be there because when she told the tale it was funny.

At times she cooked up something out of thin air, such as her program on “talking to plants” for the local garden club.

It could have been an April meeting.

This was not supposed to be a serious presentation, but I observed her standing before a hall mirror delivering her words with a straight face.

Her talk must have been well received because I recall her receiving phone calls.

She had no authority on the subject and was taken to task by a sour lady who claimed it was all “bunk.” Well, yeah!

And, so what?

There’s this from the website “Gardenuity” from a couple of years back quoting the Royal Horticultural Society (England) research that plants do respond to human voices.

Of 10 tomato plants in the study eight of them had head phones around their pots. Male and female voices were used each day.

Those plants growing the most “heard” the female voice and experienced a growth of an inch more than those that “listened” to the male voice.

So it must not matter if you were singing opera or reading dissertations on poultry psychology but much information is missing such as how long and often the plants were played the voices.

As we drive in the mornings the ground is spotted by spider webs in the grass with a coating of dew which makes the webs stand out.

My mom used those morning dew-covered webs for another garden club program, stating that the little webs reminded her of the tiny soft beds woven by little fairies.

First, who knows whether there are, or are not, fairies and how they might prefer to sleep.

I’ve never seen one, heard one, but naturally too cautious to dismiss fairies out of hand.

To win the negative argument you have to prove a negative, impossible in debate, but that didn’t prevent that sour old lady from storming out before refreshments were served and tossing over her shoulder; “First talking to plants and now fairies.”

The woman was known to enjoy “refreshments” on her own, so she didn’t really miss anything.

My mom just smiled.

Joe Phillips writes his “Dear me” columns for several small newspapers. He has many connections to Walker County, including his grandfather, former superintendent Waymond Morgan. He can be reached at joenphillips@hotmail.com.

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