For weeks now, I have been wishing I had stocked up on a few things that can’t be delivered in a cardboard box from Amazon. The big-ticket item was 10 bags of topsoil to fill four plastic faux-wine barrels begging for some filling.
In particular, there is a Daphne odora that deserves some space to roam.
Daphne ordora has a much better chance in a huge pot.
Sure, I could dig a huge hole in my yard and harvest some of this prime Chico backyard soil, but then I’d have a gaping eyesore on my hands.
On a few occasions, I had that particular itch and drove by the big-box home improvement store. The idea was if the store looked mostly vacant, I would make a mad dash through the garden section, quick as a 1970s streaker at a college bowl game.
Yet, every time I saw the wall-to-wall pickup trucks in the parking lot, I chickened out and drove home.
For a while in late March, the town looked more like a home-improvement holiday than a time for shelter in place. Was I the only person who was heeding the warning to stay at home, lonely, and binging on a dwindling supply of emergency chocolate?
Of course, everything changed. There’s no reason for folks to go to home improvement stores. People are now busy rebuilding their gazebos and putting 10 bags of topsoil to good use.
Last weekend, LaDona and I went for a socially-distant walk in our neighborhood and decided to venture into the parking lot of Ace Hardware on East Avenue. It was near closing time and we gaped through the iron gate at the fresh shipment of colorful flowers, neatly arranged on the long, outdoor tables.
The view from just outside the barrier.
I wouldn’t say I was salivating, but I’m certain my blood pressure increased by a point or two.
The only folks walking under the shade cloth were two ladies wearing garden smocks and a few shoppers with smiles on their faces.
LaDona and I were too far apart to hear each other gasp, but we were both thinking the same thing. This would be the perfect time for a dash-and-grab plant purchase. I could have spent half my anticipated government stimulus check in 15 minutes.
Alas, we were walking and neither of us had thought to bring money.
We lingered longer than necessary. I checked out the prices for the bags of topsoil, overflowing the wooden pallet in the hot sun. We schlepped home feeling like that girl who is always longing for that doggie in the window.
The next day, LaDonna sent me a text to ask if I was home.
Duh. Where else would I be?
A few minutes later she rolled down the gravel driveway in her new (to her) pickup truck and offloaded 10 bags of topsoil. Just to further cement our sure-to-be-lasting friendship, she deposited two tomato plants on my outdoor table and refused to accept my money.
This is what people mean when they say members of the community are looking out for one another.
Soon, it was Easter, and I was back into one of those funks. My morning routine of scrolling through other people’s lives on Facebook became a pity party. I live alone and people were enjoying Easter. Families posted their pantry-item Easter brunches and pics of children frolicking as they gathered plastic eggs. I love to play board games like Settlers of Catan and Skip-Bo. There were my niece and nephews, gathered around tables with dice in their hands. Other people’s children were developing fine motor skills and mastering shape recognition by working on puzzles.
Harrumph. The computer was clicked off and I worked out my frustration by pulling weeds.
My Totally Cool Neighbor was gone, but I glanced over to the weathered wooden fence. He sometimes sits on his side of the barricade, and we chat about everything and nothing.
That’s when I spotted my surprise.
There, in an indentation where the wood has rotted at the top of the fence post, TNC had placed a one-gallon container overflowing with white Easter lilies. It’s in soil, so I can plant it!
I snatched them quickly because I didn’t want some guy on a bicycle to grab them on the way to visit his mother and work on puzzles. When I saw TNC later, he confirmed they were intended for me.
This story gets just a little bit better. Recently I ordered a bunch of stuff on Amazon. The shipments arrive bit-by-bit. To allow the boxes to detoxify, I place them in the middle of the kitchen for several days.
On Easter, I opened a small box that I expected contained either coffee filters or an oral thermometer.
Instead, it contained a big chunk of chocolate with a magnet on the back. Everyone knows you aren’t living large unless you have chocolate hanging on your fridge. Thank you Lynda, my ever-gracious step-mom, the timing turned out to be my chocolate Easter surprise.