Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Honeysuckle Days

I'm sitting here on my couch, silly dog by my side, with the window open so I can smell the honeysuckle. The honeysuckle vines, which run rampant through our neighborhood, are the great gift of May. All you have to do is open a window or walk outside, and the whole world smells sweet.

Sometimes when my children are driving me nuts, I remind myself of the things I like most about them: They are great appreciators of Christmas traditions. They love the beach. They think it's a marvelous treat that I let them have a can of soda (Coke for Will, Dr. Pepper for Jack) on Fridays, and would never dream of asking for one on any other day. They both love the dog, even when they hate everyone else. And they both love honeysuckle. They're excited when they see the first vines in our front yard. They grab handfuls of blossoms and nip off the ends to squeeze out tiny drops of nectar.

I think this bodes well for them. They are the sort of people who find delight in the small pleasures the world has to offer. This is good.

The pictures in this post are from the various gardens in my neighborhood. They're last week's pictures, which makes them completely out of date. Every day I walk Travis down Spencer Street and up Woodburn, down Marion and up Sevier, and every day something new has appeared. I'm starting to think it's magic. I'm starting to think that every night little people bound out of the woods with spades and plots of plants and get to work. It's nuts.

Yesterday I had lunch with my neighbors Amy and Katherine. They are lovely people, and I'm so glad we're getting to be friends, but I already have a significant Amy and a significant Kathryn in my life. Adding two more to the list will only serve to confuse things. I'm wondering if I can get the new Amy and the new Katherine to adopt nicknames. Fifi and Babs. Coco and Roz.

A weird thing happened at lunch. Amy, after much discussion with the waitress, ordered a veggie burger. Amy has been a vegetarian for thirty years. So when she took a bite of her much discussed veggie burger and realized it was a hamburger, suffice to say she was upset. Nonplussed. Freaked out.

A lot of people I know, especially a lot of the committed vegetarians I know, would have had a fit. But Amy took a deep breath, then said, "I need to go walk outside for a minute," before leaving the table. While she was gone, the waitress came over and asked if everything was okay, and almost cried when Katherine and I explained to her what had happened. When Amy returned, the waitress come back to the table and apologized, and then the manager came to the table and apologized.

Through it all, Amy was extraordinarily gracious. She accepted their apologies, agreed that it was a mistake and that mistakes happen. She was lovely.  Her compassion for animals clearly extends to human beings.

And after all that, we still had a good lunch. The waitress brought Amy a real veggie burger (and didn't charge her), we all ate Katherine's french fries, and we gossiped about the gardens in our neighborhood. Katherine told of her cat's strange and somewhat sinister history, and Amy promised to teach me how to cook with tofu. After we paid, I grabbed the receipt for my taxes, because I knew I'd have something to write about.

And I did.


Unknown said...

I showed Riley how to get the honeysuckle nectar just the other day, and she was delighted. Then she imagined taking a bunch home and concocting some sort of dessert from them-- sounded a lot like creme brûlée, and I wonder how that might taste.

Unknown said...

I showed Riley how to get the honeysuckle nectar just the other day, and she was delighted. Then she imagined taking a bunch home and concocting some sort of dessert from them-- sounded a lot like creme brûlée, and I wonder how that might taste.

wayside wanderer said...

I loved this, "Her compassion for animals clearly extends to human beings." She sounds like a lovely woman. You've made me miss the honeysuckle we left behind at our old house. It was a beautiful orange-pink and very tasty.

Tracy said...

I adore honeysuckle. It just smells like summer...which of course means that we get that beautiful scent at the end of the year instead of in the middle of it!

It sounds like you have beautiful neighbours who are worth investing bucket loads of time in order to get to know them. People like Amy warm my heart, because there's not enough grace in the world today.

magsmcc said...

I'm still a bit disturbed by the burger story.

Gumbo Lily said...

My grandpa and grandma had honeysuckle bushes at their farm which were so fragrant you couldn't help but want to spend more time outdoors. I have the remains of a vine near my front porch, but it died out during the drought. I did see signs of life yesterday while digging around. Maybe?

I love your boys.
Lucky you to have two nice, new neighbor-friends.

Pom Pom said...

Your boys are treasures. They'll make fine husbands if they choose that route.
Travis is sweet. Do you drive him around in the car?
The birds are chirping loudly this very early morning. They don't consider sleepers, and I'm pretty sure they are singing for me.
Our Wendy house is almost done! I'm gleeful!
I wish you a warm and affirming Mother's Day, Frances.