Sunday, June 29, 2008

Worth Every Bite

No, I'm not referring to some sinfully dark and delicious chocolate bar. I wish I were.

This evening involved three different activities, each of which left me with several new mosquito bites. But let me back up just a bit first.

This afternoon, I went over to my friend Nance's house, as she had told me that she was finally completely done with greenhouse season and I could come get some of her leftovers, if I wished. I did wish. I ended up staying for three hours, having a very nice visit before she was scheduled to skip town to stay at a friend's cabin on Flathead Lake for a few days of relaxation. Before I left, with a few new flats of flowers and several big potted dahlias, Nance mentioned that I could bring a friend over to pick up some more flowers, if I knew someone who really needed them. I tucked the information away and said good-bye.

When I returned home, Andy announced that he and the kids were hoping to go for a hike up Bass Creek. I balked. Hiking in the woods next to a stream in the early evening--with this year's mosquito population? But we loaded up and drove to the trailhead, only a few miles away, anyway.

We hiked at full speed, using all of our best swatting moves, for five minutes before we turned around and high-tailed it back to the car. It was impossible. We drove away laughing at world's shortest hiking trip as we shooed the remaining mosquitoes out the open windows. It was decided that we would add the experience to our file of Funny Family Experiences.

We decided instead to drive up Sweeney Peak to get up above the mosquitoes and enjoy the spectacular views of the valley below. Halfway up the mountain, Tano announced that he was feeling carsick. We realized that he had been reading, head bent down, as we wound our way up the switchbacks on the steep, bumpy road. No wonder he didn't feel well. We decided to find a place to get out and look around, hoping that we were at a high enough elevation already to be above the bugs. We weren't. But we were able to follow the landmarks and find our little dirt road off in the distance, so that was a fun distraction to the constant swatting. We drove back down the mountain, the boy moaning and groaning with every bump and hairpin turn.

We stopped for some groceries and a movie rental and headed home.

It was on the drive home that the idea for the third activity of the evening popped into my head. I called my crazy shut-in neighbor lady on the telephone.

"Georgia? This is Sherry. What are you doing right now?"

"Just watching some TV--why?"

"Get dressed (this isn't standard operating procedure for her) and put your hair on (her own hair has fallen out in dramatic clumps over the last few years, so she wears a wig if she is leaving the property); you and I are going on an adventure."

"Oh, we are?"

"Yes, we are. I will be over in five minutes to pick you up, so be ready."

"Ok, then," she replied, her voice brimming with excitement and curiosity. "I'll see you in a few minutes."

She hung up and (she told me later) informed her husband of my phone call as she rushed around the house to get ready. Never one to share in her excitement about anything, he grumbled that the adventure ought to include making her husband dinner first, but she was undeterred. She was walking out the front door as I pulled into her driveway.

We were almost to Nance's greenhouse, making casual small talk to make up for her terrible curiosity, before I told her where we were going and why. I explained that no one was home and that she was free to take as many plants as we could fit in the pick-up truck--at no cost.

Now, a kid in a candy store doesn't really compare to Georgia, in this situation. After all, a kid in a candy store doesn't automatically assume that he can have everything he wants. A kid in a candy store still has some reservations mixed in with the excitement, wondering how many of the lovely sweets he will actually get to pick out.

This was Christmas and birthday and the Fourth of July, all mixed into one. She was literally giddy with excitement. Her wig nearly slid right off as she hopped from table to table, examining all the leftover plants. I smiled and swatted at the swarming mosquitoes as I loaded her precious, chosen flats into the truck.

Georgia easily filled the bed of the truck. Then she filled the back seat. Finally, she filled her lap and the space by her feet. She chattered excitedly all the way home about her plans for what was going where and what needed water immediately and which items would look best together. I just drove and smiled, not even trying to follow her rapid-fire monologue.

We unloaded her plants into her yard, still swatting madly, and she hugged me something fierce.

"If you hear strange noises coming from my house," she informed me with her signature cackle, "it's not wild sex; it's just Georgia thinking about her flowers and getting excited about putting them in the ground."

I thanked her for the heads-up.

I itch everywhere, but that was the most fun I have had in a while.


Mister Ed T said...

Sounds like you are over your cold! Or is it just prempted for mosquito season? Reminds me of when we lived in Uranium City.

alison said...

O happy day.

If I wasn't so happy for Georgia I would be extremely, incredibly, terribly, I am NOT kidding, envious.

Reason 8,567 to move to Montana: Nance's greenhouse.