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It was a 'lily' of a battle

| Tuesday, July 2, 2002

I must really be getting old! I was always told, by those who are supposed to know, that working in a flower garden is excellent therapy for whatever ails you. Boy, were those guys ever wrong! Nothing "ailed" me until I decided to weed our lily patch.

For years my only contribution toward a flowery beautification project was standing by, watching (and bossing) as my husband planted the plants. But as we all seem destined to do, I grew older (and bossier?), and I, at last, tried to help by removing each little flower from each little square pot, carefully handing them to my "gardener," always making sure that he placed each one exactly where I thought it was supposed to be.

As far as I was concerned, that sort of "helping" was enough for me because somewhere along the journey from childhood to these golden years in which I now exist, I had failed to inherit my mother's and grandmother's noticeably green thumb, and the only time it bothered me was when I managed annihilate a Christmas cactus, a rhododendron, two azaleas and a bleeding heart.

Meanwhile, my daughter had grown up to become an avid gardener - with a bleeding heart that grew and grew and bloomed and bloomed until it rivaled any I had ever seen - along with two azaleas that show off every spring. Every summer her yard was filled with all sorts of perky posies - including lilies. I must have looked envious because one day she offered me some Oriental lily bulbs and even some plain old American ones, and with the help of my always helpful spouse, we made a circular-shaped bed for them to rest throughout the winter.

To my amazement and delight they actually sprouted when spring came and you can be sure I was as proud as any peacock when they actually bloomed in exotic rusty-red, blaze orange and plain old yellow with tiny brown dots. For several years they have been brightening our otherwise rather ordinary backyard - which, probably to your relief, brings me to the reason why I am sitting here in the livingroom - instead of out on my old back porch admiring all the pretty flowers, with one leg elevated, iced and a bit painful at the moment.

It's all because of those colorful lilies and my sudden crazy idea to walk through the fresh, green grass to admire them close-up. Along with me strolled my "gardener," who began pulling some weeds that were beginning to tower over the lilies. Now, even more than my dislike of planting is my dislike of weeding those things that sometimes masquerade as flowers because I decided to make at least an attempt at pulling one of the tallest weeds I've ever seen. But sad to say, that determined weed won the battle and ~ I went, landing solidly on the other side of the bed of lilies.

My "gardener" of almost 55 years may get fired, because as I flew across those stately lilies, he looked up, rather startled, and asked, "What are you doing?" I ask you, what else could I have been doing besides falling• I certainly wasn't trying to imitate Tinkerbell!

By the way, I did fare a bit better than one of the taller lilies; it will bloom no more until next spring. If it's lucky. But then I may not either!

Jacobs is a Connellsville resident.

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