Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

Long-time happily married couples cannot maintain their “happy” status doing yard work together.  But, every summer, Mother Nature shouts, "It's time for the test."  Foolish couples respond with enthusiasm, ready to play in the dirt and plant things.

It's easy to understand.  Winters sometimes are tough, and my wife and I spend hours watching gardening shows. Picking out flowers is the easy part.  We just buy everything we see.   Planting, on the other hand, will horribly test any marriage.

The culprit is GPD.  Garden Personality Differential.  My wife and I do not have the same Garden Personality. I'm a Random Garden Personality.  I look at the flats of plants sitting in our yard and develop a quick mental image of where they can be planted.  Quick is the operative word here.  My philosophy is "Flowers are pretty anywhere." If they don't grow well in a certain location, that is why God invented the garden spade.  Dig them up and plant them elsewhere.

My wife is a Grid Garden Personality.  She studies for days.  Studies is the operative word here.  She develops grids based on color, size and compatibility.  I understand color.  I understand size.  I'm not sure what plant compatibility means.  If they are not compatible, do they yell at each other?  Do fragrant viburnum thumb their little petals at the non-fragrants?

One wonderful afternoon we returned from the nursery with several hundred dollars of perennials and annuals.  They were all beautiful.  Knowing the differences in our garden personalities, I wisely asked my wife for guidance in planting.  "Honey, where do you want these flowers?"

"I don't know yet," she smiled back.

I said I wisely asked.  I didn't say I wisely acted.  "What about putting the geraniums over there near the day lilies?"

She didn't reply.  I guess that was acceptance.  (You’re laughing at my ignorance, aren’t you?)

I carted fifteen geraniums to the Day Lilly neighborhood, convinced my wife saw me.  It took several trips.  She disappeared.  I soon had fifteen geraniums planted, and she rushed from the back porch, "Why did you plant them there?  That looks awful."

"I asked and you didn't say anything!"  (I swear I was not shouting.)

"I thought you were kidding.  You couldn't possibly have been serious about planting geraniums there."

I tried to lighten the situation.  "You think I would tease about something as serious as planting a geranium?"  The approach died a quick death.

"Those geraniums are bright red!!"

I stopped short of telling her I was proud of her for knowing her colors.   "Yes, I know they are."  (I had no idea of the relevance.)

"The day lilies are orange.  You can't plant orange and red together.  They clash."

"Well, I'm not moving them now," I answered with full conviction.

"F-I-N-E!"

Do you know what "F-I-N-E!" means?  It 's like capital punishment.  

My wife walked away.  Confident.  She didn't even turn her little head and check on me.  She knew I'd move the geraniums.  But, I showed her.  I only moved fourteen.

Regardless of age, a man has to take a stand every now and then.

Date of Blog Story: 
July 10, 2008

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