Sunday, May 6, 2012

You Always Hurt the One You Love

 That's a Joanie number from the 1940's. In my mind's ear she is singing as she putters around, rearranging the clutter, slipping the dinner entree (boil-in-bag) into boiling water. You never gained weight in my house, but you gained knowledge--of mid-century pop culture, from Glenn Miller to Larry Hart. Whenever I miss my mom (which is often), I scroll back through the tunes she instilled in our subconscious--"Summertime," "I Can't Get Started," "Younger than Springtime," "My Funny Valentine." And this one: "You Always Hurt the One You Love," for the truth contained in the lyrics. How we tippy-toe around strangers, make nice with friends, and savage lovers! If I still went to confession, the kneeler would be worn out from my frequent visits to tell all to Father What's-His-Name: I hurt my husband. I hurt my children. I hurt my flowers.

OK, the latter is not technically a sin. But it is a shame. I do adore flowers. Nothing pleases me more than a bouquet of roses, or daffodils, or iris. I revel in the smell and sight of things in beautiful bloom. I look upon every blossom tenderly, reaching out to touch each petal with awe. The colors! The fragrance! God has outdone Himself!

 I enjoy my floral bounty as long as it lasts. Sad to say, it lasts about a nanosecond. I apparently zap every lilac and lily in my path with the Death Ray, because upon contact with me the hardiest of them shrivel and expire. I should get in the habit of snapping a pic of every bunch of carnations or mums that crosses our threshold, because by morning all is routinely reduced to brownish refuse. Alas! My curse is contagious, too. Ya-Jhu brought home a trio of Birds of Paradise from the Reading Terminal Market, and waited with bated breath for them to open up and reveal their glory. I could have told her: the poor plants would, in short order, succumb to the Elise Whammy! (And they did).

Last week I celebrated 10 years in my job at church. I was gifted with a dozen white roses, some red gerbera daisies, and a huge arrangement of blooms featuring alstromeria and tulips. Well, I hope their current condition is not a harbinger of my future at Christ's Oreland, because if so I am sunk. And I am no luckier outdoors than in: a dear friend recently gifted me with a hydrangea plant to be settled in the back yard. As I, no joke, merely crossed my threshold with this beauty, it shed its blossoms like an accomplished stripper. I am now the proud owner of several denuded hydrangea stalks, which I will plant in the ground in vain hopes of reviving next year.

It seems I always hurt the ones I love, flowers included. But I can learn! I can snip the stems and change the water!  And then I can back off, so my dear ones can thrive. Please God, let them.

1 comment:

  1. Hope you enjoyed - and loved! - those flowers for as long as you had them. The photo above is lovely - just the sort of "arrangement" I like. I celebrate those 10 years with you, Elise. You are kind to those you love, despite what you say!!