Golly, Mr. and Mrs. VP. I'll do anything to make you like me. I'll sing. I'll dance. I'll put on a cute pouty face. I'll even mow your lawn, but would ya let me change out of my angel outfit first, please? Aw. Gee. That's swell of you!

Golly, Mr. and Mrs. VP. I’ll do anything to make you like me. I’ll sing. I’ll dance. I’ll put on a cute pouty face. I’ll even mow your lawn, but would ya let me change out of my fancy Impress-The-VPs-Dress first, please? Aw. Gee. That’s swell of you!

When last we left common-sense-impaired Lorna, she was worried about impressing The VPs (her future in-laws) because they were from the ritzy side of the tracks and she was from the side of the tracks where people ate beans to generate enough gas to keep themselves warm and entertained. Okay, slight exaggeration here. No one lived near any train tracks.

Fun Fact: Navy beans, if not soaked long enough produce A LOT of gas. Remember that on a cold winter night if you lose power...

Fun Fact: Navy beans, if not soaked long enough produce A LOT of gas. Remember that on a cold winter night if you lose power…

Suffice it to say Lorna felt inadequate among her new about-to-be family. And she only made matters worse by trying to make them better.  

Case in point.

I volunteered one time (and only one time for reasons you’ll soon understand) to help the VPs mow their palatial grounds  lawn. They were retired and, to fill all those hours of leisure, they supplemented antiquity adventures, culinary hosting events, and travel excursions with becoming Master Gardeners. They didn’t just have lawns and flower gardens; they had grounds and floricultural features. It all seemed a bit obsessive to me, but I didn’t say anything for fear of offending them and having me branded a weed in their family of carefully planted [insert some legitimate flower here].

Not being the “out-doorsy” type, I didn’t know a lot  much  hardly a thing  anything about plants and flowers. I mean, I knew they grew if they had enough dirt and water. Sun. I think I learned that plants needed sun for photosensitivity (or some such scientific mumbo-jumbo). Fertilizer also helps–the real kind, not the kind, I’m dishing out.

Well, bleach my bloomers! That's the difference between a rock and a stone. I never knew. Thanks for clearing that up.

Well, bleach my bloomers! That’s the difference between a rock and a stone. I never knew. And all this time I thought I wanted a stoned garden…

Anyway, Mr. VP was fixing to mow the “lower 49” (his nickname for the southern lawn) and I offered to help. I figured I was on safe ground. My job as a kid was mowing our lawn under my step-grandfather’s watchful eye as he drank his Topper Beers. I got real good on a riding lawn mower while he got real relaxed. When I offered to mow The VPs lawn, I don’t think I was drunk, because I remember the details very clearly. Unfortunately. Had I been drunk, I could either blame what happened on the booze and/or the memory might have vanished with the drowned brain cells.

As luck would have it, I carried this sign with me for riding lawn mower situations.

As luck would have it, I carried this sign with me for riding lawn mower situations. 

Oh well, I was sober and this is how I impressed my future Master Gardener father-in-law.

Victor gave me a quick lesson on how to operate their Snapper riding lawn mower. Then, both he and his dad showed me where some new trees were neatly planted in a perfect row.

“Be very careful around these trees, okay?” Victor more instructed than asked.

I nodded.

Mr. VP added, “Yes, I planted all of these by had this past spring. They are a special strain of evergreen in the blah blah blah blah…” Once he started talking like the guy from the PBS show, The Victory Garden, he lost me. “So it’s very important that they all make it and I can show them off next year to the Master Gardeners.”

He just looks like a man that would rather talk to plants than, say, anyone.

He just looks like a man who can charm the leaves off a plant but goes home alone. A lot. At least his mother is there for company I would imagine.

I nodded again. “I’ll be very careful. My grandfather had me mowing around lines of trees all my life. Don’t worry.”  

I was nearly finished with the lawn, feeling very pleased that this little endeavor would surely elevate my standing in my future family.

Perhaps it was the heady fantasy of the heartfelt gratitude and hugs that would indubitably await me when I parked the Snapper after a job well done. Perhaps it was the glare of the summer sun, but I lost my focus on the task not yet completed.

Mowers make a pleasant whirring sound when blades meet grass. When blades meet a newly planted tree, however, the sound coming from the mower is not nearly as pleasing. Mowers should never sound like chain saws. This one did for one brief moment.

Like the “shot heard ‘round the world,” that traitorous sound brought Victor and his father running to see what happened:

  • Maybe a small animal had met an untimely demise?
  • Maybe Lorna’s flip-flop fell off and somehow got caught in the mower?

Just don’t let it be one of the new trees!

It was.

Whether it was to remind me of my carelessness or some reason not involving me (hard to believe, but I have to put it out there), a bare space still remains in the row of surviving trees–the missing tooth in an otherwise perfect smile. Because of me.

It's just not right. It could have been fixed but it wasn't. And now we all have to live with it...

It’s just not right. It should have been fixed right away but it wasn’t. (In the interest of full disclosure, I blacked out Julia’s tooth to make the point, unlike me mowing down an innocent tree not to make any point at all).

Desecrating a Master Gardener’s grounds wasn’t enough for Lorna, though. She had more damage to do…