Monday, June 25, 2012

A Summer Rerun--Daddy and The Lady Banks Rose

 We moved back to Chesterfield County in 1989 after Mac retired from the Navy. I had told him that since I had followed him all over the world for so many years, it was time for him to follow me, and that I was going to Chesterfield.  Like any sensible man, he followed. My parents were happy that we were settling nearby and that they would get to be closer to their grandsons.
     Mama, who was a master gardener in all but degree, was eager to share her plant knowledge with Mac and me. She took us all over their massive yard pointing out the beds of roses, the huge scattering of daffodils in the woods and in particular the Lady Banks Rose that was growing up the side of the garage. She had planted it as a stripling about 12 inches high and had pampered it and babied it for ten years. Now in January, she was anxious to show us how she had placed brackets on the garage to secure it to so that it was 15 or so feet up and then swagging down. She told us the blooms this year would be spectacular and it would occur around Easter. I shared in her excitement and everytime I went to visit was greeted by the site of the bare limbed Lady Banks. I would go over and examine it for signs of first leaf.
     Okay, now Daddy had a pair of loppers that he used to trim the trees to keep their branches from assaulting him when he was riding the mower or driving the car down the drive. He loved those loppers. They weren't much to look at as loppers go, but they were kept lovingly oiled and ready for action on a hook on the wall inside the garage.   Weekends starting in early spring were dedicated to neatening up flower beds, opening garden plots out back for the veggies that Mama grew with pride and aplomb and general yard work and weeding was carried out. Our younger son Michael enjoyed spending weekends at his "sweet little Grandma's". He didn't mind helping out there, though I couldn't get him to turn his hand in the yard at home. I would go to pick him up and take the chance to admire the Lady Banks and ooh and ahh over the new leaves it was putting on. It really was going to be glorious this year, I could tell. So one warm Saturday morning, I took Michael to spend the day at Grandma's. Daddy was out and about, no suit and tie but dressed in his yard work gear, a well worn pair of khaki shorts an old plaid shirt and faded green hat on his head. Oh, and loppers in hand. He had trimmed the magnolia tree limbs and was clearing the circle of dead branches and weeds that Mama and the kids had pulled. He waved at me as I dropped Michael off. I glanced at the beauty of the Lady Banks and dreamed of having one like it one day.
     So it's about 4:30 that afternoon when the phone rings. On the other end, Michael is breathless with something akin to fear. "Mom, you've got to come here quick, Grandma is going to kill Grandpa!"
     Okay, now having heard Mama threaten to kill Daddy at least 100 times a year for most of my life, I'm not getting so excited over this piece of news. Stifling a yawn, I ask him casually "so, what did Grandpa do this time?" A tremble was in his voice, he couldn't hide it. "He lopped off Grandma's Lady Banks." I sat straight up, rigid with anger of my own.
      "Go tell Grandma to hold on I'm on my way."
      "So you're gonna stop her?" he wanted to know.
      "Oh no, I'm going to help her!" I told him, a deadly calm in my voice. I heard him yelling "run Grandpa run!"
     Okay, so we didn't kill him. But Mama took his loppers away. He was not allowed to use them without strict supervision and only when Mama saw the need of them. Funny, but she didn't feel the need of their use for many years after that...
     oh and ps:
yes, I do have a Lady Banks Rose, she is 10 feet high and no one but no goes near her with anything sharper than a camera lens.





Mama and Daddy circa 1962

20 comments:

Love Bears All Things said...

I was afraid Michael had done it trying to help grandpa.
My Mother had a rose she called a Mother's Day rose. It bloomed most of the summer. My sister transplanted it to her house when we sold the homeplace. Honey Bear is currently in the process of rooting a cutting of it for me. We love having hand-me-down plants. They just seem to mean more, don't they.
Mama Bear

the fly in the web said...

Great post! I'd have been there helping grandma too.

I had a Lady Banks in my last garden in England...trailed all through and round cast iron railings on the road frontage and then along the dividing fence at the side of the house.
It had reached the end of the back garden by the time I left...

Vee said...

I knew the minute you mentioned loppers. I vaguely remember this post. Wonder what I said last time IF I do remember. It may have been something about my father mowing down everything in sight or something. I can tell that your father did learn his lesson. Do you think he chuckles over it yet or does he just shiver? ☺

Pondside said...

Men should not be allowed the use of secateurs or loppers without strict supervision by a woman!

Suldog said...

I just like the word "loppers"!

lailani said...

I agree with Suldog, really like the word loppers! And he deserved to wonder how serious the two of you were over those roses!! hehe

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

I can so relate! Bobby G. (he's out right this minute riding around on that lawn tractor) keeps a machete strapped to his tractor so when something threatens to swipe him across the face, he just wacks it off. My poor butterfly bush has had so many branches cut off of it it's not funny. But, I did have to put my foot down, just like your Momma) when he cut down a small dogwood I had been babying along. Now, anything I don't want him to cut has a bright ribbon tied to it. You should see my yard!

He doesn't know a weed from a hole in the ground. I bet I have told him the difference between poison ivy and Virginia creeper a million times and still can't remember "leaves of three" or "leaves of five"! xoxo

ancient one said...

I'm laughing all over again.. I remembered this.. Someone needs to get the loppers and get to lopping around here.. today he is spraying Roundup.. LOL

bj said...

Oh, Lordy....the only thing worse than a man with loppers is a man with ROUNDUP.

Akelamalu said...

Oh boy, your Dad was lucky to have got away with that! LOL

Akelamalu said...

Oh boy, your Dad was lucky to have got away with that! LOL

Donna said...

Hahaaaa...my hubby ALSO has loppers! I had a Lady Banks, TWO, in fact...sigh...
Think I'll try replanting in a more hidden area!
hughugs

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

I'll always think of this story when the loppers come out! Lady Banks...I will have to check put that variety. She must be quite something!

Merisi in Vienna said...

Even though I remembered (!) this from the first run, I read it again. One never knows, I thought, someone could have created another ending in the meantime! ;-)

Earnestly, I enjoyed this story just as much as the first time around. And the picture of your parents is so lovely.

Hugs,
Merisi

Jeni said...

Oh Sandi! You stuff -whether it be new or a re-run -is like Suldog's (one of my other Blogger friends) in that it's always great to read!

Maggie May said...

I've also had problems with Harry and loppers! The two just don't go.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Sally said...

LOL!! I remember this, and reading it again brought the same smiles! :)

NitWit1 said...

This is like my Best Friend's and my husband who burned down our various plantings including her knock out rose when they burn leaves or mow.

We are resigned to it or we would have to burn leaves or mow!!!

Carol said...

Sandi....What a beautifully delightful long-ago memory!! I would have joined you! I'm off to look up this beautiful bush!! xoxoxox

i beati said...

old fashioned gorgeous