The warm weather this past weekend pushed me right into gardening fever! On Friday of this week we will welcome our first large shipment of bedding plants- pansies, violas, primrose, campanula, dianthus, rosemary, thyme, and lots more. After clamdigging, I wandered into our woods and picked my first of the season bouquet of Trilliums! Today’s rain can be endured, more warm days will soon arrive and you will be ready! Just beware of the dreaded ‘Spring Fever’ bug-
There are those who love to travel, and those who stay home on the farm, so to speak. It’s odd how frequently these two opposites manage to find each other and marry. My parents followed this tradition, and so have my husband and I. My mother was always ready to seek new worlds, embark on adventures, set sail for foreign lands. Me too. My father, on the other hand, liked nothing better than staying home. He appreciated his creature comforts, had deep affection for his very own bed and pillow, leaving them willingly only for hiking into the Olympics. That is, until Spring Fever struck. You could see it coming over him like a case of chickenpox. Usually my father was very easy going and content, so any signs of abnormality were obvious- a restless spirit, travel brochures on the table, wistful references to places like Easter Island -and the joys of traveling solo.
My mother was all too familiar with the signs. She had learned that this yearning was peculiar to her husband and that it did not reflect upon her in the least. Sort of ‘a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do’ kind of thing. When the first symptoms appeared, she covertly packed a suitcase and kept it stashed in the closet for him. One Spring morning he would wake up in a touchy mood and announce that he was leaving. No, no, don’t say anything, don’t try to talk me out of it, don’t know where I’m going or when I’ll be back. I may be away for months. Maybe a year. I’ll call when I get somewhere. He was like a martyr headed out to face certain death- probably soon to be eaten up by beasts of the jungle. My mother would suppress a grin and attempt to meet this announcement with the appropriate degree of surprise and sorrow. Funny, he never seemed to be shocked by the rapidity with which that suitcase appeared. After all, he was a Free Spirit and his heart was being tugged by the lure of The Grand Adventure.
The truth of the matter was that my father would become homesick after three days. He’d fight it for maybe a week, max. I don’t think that he ever stayed away for ten days. If so, it was only because he couldn’t get a flight home sooner. And he really didn’t venture very far. He was such a creature of habit that breaking free from his routine came hard, even in his persona of a footloose globetrotter. His first stop was invariably San Francisco. My mother even knew which hotel he’d choose. But she would never have dreamt of calling there- the facade of not knowing where he was had to be maintained, father’s dignity depended upon it. She would always feign surprise when he called to say that he was in San Francisco and didn’t know where he was headed next. He’d mumble about Tahiti, but she knew perfectly well that she hadn’t packed his passport. On purpose.
He always returned home with a renewed spirit and sketch pads filled with drawings. He would prowl around the garden and into the woods, looking for whatever plants had popped up during his absence. There would be some presents, always wrapped in Chinese language newspapers, courtesy of China Town in San Francisco. Life would settle back down to normal. My mother always made good use of his sudden departures to turn the house out with a thorough Spring Cleaning, so as to not disturb the usual routine.
When my mother decided that it was time for a trip, it was a whole ‘nother story. She planned, she scheduled, she studied- she tried to learn basic vocabulary of the country she was headed for. This gave my father time to get used to the idea. Eventually her enthusiasm was catching, and by the time they embarked he even thought that the idea for the trip was all his doing. Women are such wily creatures.
Barbara Bennett Parsons, her mother’s daughter for sure! Manager of the Grays Harbor Farmers Market in Hoquiam.
1958 Riverside Ph. 538-9747 closed only on Monday
Deidra’s Deli Ph. 538-5880 Open 7 days a week!
Grays Harbor Public Market