Ah, summer. Here it is once again, the season of barbeques, picnics, frisbee, the beach. Finally, after that long winter we’ve all spent inside (at least those of us in New England, ok those of us in New England that don’t ski, which would be me and two ninety-year-old women in Rhode Isaland) and that tease of a spring, finally summer is here at last. Now we can get outside, feel fresh air and warm sunshine on our skin, dig in our gardens; do all those summer things we have longed for lo these many months. The days get longer, with more time to enjoy nature’s beauty that surrounds us…….
I don’t really like nature. I mean, sure, it’s awe-inspiring at times, keeps the world going round and all that, but let’s just say that, for me, nature is best experienced from the couch, or at most from the air-conditioned comfort of a luxury vehicle. Suffice it to say that I am an indoor girl. Those who know me are now holding their sides, laughing uproariously and wiping tears from their eyes at this most ridiculous of understatements.
For someone like me, summertime comes with an awful lot of pressure. The pressure to get outside, because its summer! The pressure to eat outside, because it’s summer! Let’s play golf/tennis/go for a hike because IT’S SUMMER!
None of this interests me. Well, I guess just getting outside is fine, for awhile, provided it’s not too hot, or too humid, or too buggy, occasionally. But the eating outside? Thanks, no. It’s too hot/humid/buggy. Sports? Please.
I do love the gardening, though. In May. Oh, I get off to a great start, making the rounds to the local garden centers, buying cute new gardening gloves, choosing new perennials for the yard, adding in a few annuals for variety each year. Mostly I just like the gloves. So I get started, digging a little here, pulling a weed there, planting my new purchases, going back for the purple gloves instead of the pink, oh what the heck why not both? Then the temperature warms up, and I move inside to begin hugging the air conditioner. The plants may think warmer weather is good for them, but with me at their helm it is in fact the kiss of death. By the Fourth of July, mine are the loneliest, driest, sorriest little plants on the block.
Recently, I did some gardening for my father. That sounds like a simple task, but for me it is very intimidating. You see, I come from a family of many gardeners. My mother always had lovely flower gardens, and would spend her summer days lovingly tending them in her swimsuit. We used to say that she put her suit on at Memorial Day and took it off on Columbus Day. One of my brothers, a long-time cosmopolitan city dweller, is somehow also a wonderfully talented flower gardener, coming home to re-create and reinvent my mothers gardens year after year, breathing beautiful new life into them each and every time. For as long as I can remember, Dad has planted an enormous vegetable garden every summer, yielding far more tomatoes, hot peppers and zucchini than Mom would be able to cook.
For many reasons, Dad is not feeling up to it this year, and while completely ill-equipped to do so, I volunteered to help. Bringing a smile to his face is close to the top of our priority list these days. All I had to do was get the plants in the ground, perhaps two dozen at most. Dig a little hole, put the plant in, fill the hole, move on. A little watering, and I can jump in the pool.
Does the name Lisa Douglas mean anything to you? I’ll give you a hint: “I just ADORE a penthouse view…” My brief-but-sweaty foray into Dad’s garden reminded me that I am much closer to the Eva Gabor character on “Green Acres” than the Eddie Arnold character. Foty-five minutes of gardening had me sweating madly, gasping, swatting at gnats or whatever it is flies around gardens these days, my approaching-middle-aged-joints yelping in pain, aching to stand up, but when I did I was so dizzy that I had to drop back down into the dirt again IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY CAN I PLEASE TAKE A SHOWER!
Did I mention I’m an inside girl? It’s going to be a long summer……
Denise Thomas is employed full-time by twin shorties that don’t pay. She writes to maintain any last remaining vestiges of her sanity, and hopes to one day use big grownup words again. She adores comedy in every form, and loves it when she laughs so hard she almost tinkles. Denise and her husband live with their twins and a crazy beagle in Massachusetts. Visit her blog at imnotcrazyivegottwins