The Humor and Life, in Particular Web site
author:  Margie Culbertson

April/May, 2002, Humor Writing Contest Winner
Best Very Short Humor!

Being Led Down the Garden Path


Susan Larson

"My 90th birthday's next week and far as I can tell, I'm the oldest person in the neighborhood. Do I get a prize for that?" Mrs. Bodkin asked over the phone.We'd just moved into the neighborhood and I'd been drafted as president of the women's club. They said they needed new blood.

For this request, I drew on some of the old blood, former club officers, who said they'd put a balloon on Mrs. Bodkin's mailbox and buy her a prize.When Mrs. Bodkin called to thank me she said, "Do you need groundcover? I have lots of Dusty Miller. You can take as much as you want."

Our yard was pretty bare, so I took her up on her offer. When I got there, she said, "Please call me Pat. It makes me feel old to have someone your age call me Mrs. Bodkin."

"Treating someone your age like a peer makes me feel old." I said."Maybe so, but you won't win any prize for it!" she retorted.I planted the soft aqua sprigs around the day lilies my neighbor Marge had given me. They soon took over the hillside outside our dining room window.Marge, an expert gardener, said, "I've never seen Dusty Miller like that. It must be a rare variety."

After a few years, our budget loosened up enough that we could focus on interior decor. When I looked for dining room wallpaper, the first sample I saw had a muted aqua background with soft orange tiger lilies— like my flowerbed. It was a bit more than I wanted to spend, but then, how many people manage to find wallpaper to match their landscaping?

The following spring, the Dusty Miller had spread beyond belief.

"I looked in all my gardening books," Marge said. "There's no variety of Dusty Miller that comes back every year like that. But whatever it is, it sure looks nice with your wallpaper."

Time passed. I saw an estate sale at Pat's house. Her daughter Janice welcomed me at the door. I told her how special her mother had been to me and how blessed I felt to have some of her Dusty Miller.

"You mean that stuff out back?" Janice said, scrunching her nose, then laughing. "Susan, that's a weed. Mother told people it was Dusty Miller and said they could take all they want since it was the only way she knew to keep the stuff under control."

If you knew and loved Pat as much as I did, and would like a little something to remember her by, I have a yard full of her Dusty Miller. You can take as much as you want.

©2002, Susan Larson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  I write a weekly column called "The Weekly Online – Grand Larson–e" for the Gwinnett Daily Post (circ. 70,000.) That column is also posted online at the above link. The column's main stay is local news with a spark of humor. In addition, I write personality profiles for Senior News, a monthly Metro–Atlanta paper and feature stories for the Lilburn Courier, a monthly paper in my town of 12,000 people.

I don't write a humor column per se. My column is not a string of one–liners or knee–slapping jokes. In fact, there is absolutely nothing funny about the one currently posted on my website. I merely write about the people and politics in my community and if I see humor in it, then I sneak it in between the lines, or between my tongue and cheek, or wherever I can fit it in. Not everyone catches on to my humor. I think of myself as the Weird Al Yankovich of columnists, but I know my 12 loyal readers really like me.

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©Margie Culbertson

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