It is my very great pleasure to be able to share this guest post by fellow author and blogger, Don Ake. Don, who should have been a standup comedian, but he informs me that his timing was off, frequently blogs at Ake’s Pains about everyday life. It is his unique perspective on otherwise common occurrences that make his posts so memorable. You simply cannot get through one without laughing until your eyes tear up all the while shaking your head and saying, “Oh, Don…”
So, without further ado, please enjoy Don Ake’s guest post:
I Went Hunting in the Bushlands
Sometimes men have to do things they don’t really want to do all for the benefit of their marriage. Okay, many times we must do these unpleasant things. All right, often it seems that marriage can be just one uncomfortable thing after another.
Recently, I did something for the first time in my life in an attempt to please my wife. I actually went to a nursery and landscaping store to buy some shrubbery for my wife’s birthday. Now you must understand I am not a horticulturalist. I am probably a horti-counterculturalist. I am not interested at all in bushes or shrubs. I don’t even notice them unless they grow so much they get in my way or they start to die. At which time I say astute things to my wife such as, “That shrub needs trimmed,” or “That bush looks likes its dying; maybe you should do something.”
So, why did I find myself anxiously looking over a large selection of greenery? Two years ago the township decided to clean the drainage ditch at the side of our yard for the first time in 19 years. They came out one day without warning and completed the task. They had the option of clearing all vegetation within five feet from the ditch to give their equipment proper clearance. Fortunately, to get to our ditch they could have gained access by clearing only about a foot of foliage. Unfortunately, they decided to take the whole five feet.
My wife had spent years getting that part of the yard just how she liked it. It was beautiful, even to a horti-counterculturalist like me. My wife was livid. She wanted to scream at our trustees. Of course, screaming wouldn’t bring back the plants and such, so I offered to pay for professional landscapers to redo the area next year.
But my wife didn’t take the deal. Probably a combination of principle (Why should we pay for someone else’s stupid behavior) and personal feelings (This is my yard and I will deal with it.) However, what was left of the bushes and shrubs after the township massacre started to regenerate. Just like when we suffer a setback in life and think the situation will be horrible forever, it does get better over time. In this case, the bank actually started to fill in wonderfully. It looked great except for two noticeable gaps.
Of course, men are great for closing gaps. We don’t like gaps. Gaps are bad. So, I made the decision to buy my wife some shrubbery for her birthday, and thus I stood in the middle of this garden store with nary a clue as to what I needed.
Fortunately, Brad soon appeared to assist me. Brad was a handsome, strapping young lad, and I’m sure the local women enjoyed having Brad tend to their bush and shrub needs. But Brad was not just “beefcake,” he was very knowledgeable about his products. Of course, my questions were limited to, “How big does that one get?” I selected a holly-type bush, and Brad suggested I get a male and a female. Apparently, these plants engage in some type of procreating activity. Who knew? I must have missed that lesson in biology class. I had no idea how they accomplished this, but they must do it after dark because I have never, ever, witnessed this hot action and am sure I would remember if I had.
So, I got the two holly “love” shrubs and bought a Korean type plant just in case my wife did not like the other selections. You might say I bought the third plant literally “to hedge my bet.” Har, har, double har!
When my wife saw the bushes, she was not pleased. We have our own domains in this marriage, and by my purchase, I had crossed into my wife’s landscaping territory. I knew that was a risk but thought that I had the benefit that it was a birthday gift going for me. I was wrong.
She looked scornfully at the holly plants and said I wasted my money because she could easily transplant some from her mother’s yard. I’m thinking, “If this was so easy to do, why wasn’t it done at any time in the last two years?” Of course, I don’t say this out loud because you don’t stay married for 30 plus years by actually saying every thought that comes to mind. Do you?
I had prepared for this outcome however. I had told Brad that my wife might not like my choices, and he assured me the shrubs could be returned if not damaged. So, I calmly presented the receipt to my wife and encouraged her to take them back and get what she wanted.
Secretly, I hoped that she would keep them. I had made the trip to the nursery, and I had actually put some effort into my choices. In addition, for some strange reason I was growing fond (har again!) of the Korean one. Now there would have been a time that I might not have wanted my wife to interact with that plant-stud Brad, but it wasn’t an issue now.
I believe after the shock wore off, my wife realized that I had tried to do a good thing, and she decided to plant the bushes. She ignored my advice not to plant the Korean one on the north side of the property. My concern was that a North Korean plot would turn into a communist plant, and I knew from old movies how damaging a communist plant could be to your operation.
So my wife is happy. I am happy. And the bushes appear to be enjoying their new home. I don’t know if the male and female have engaged in, well, nature type activity yet, but I’m sure they will when they get to know each other better and the time is right.