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  • Last modified 260 days ago (Feb. 28, 2018)

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Another Day in the Country

A palm tree in the tub

© Another Day in the Country

Last summer, in the throes of bargain hunting, I bought a palm tree for $12.95. There were a lot of them available. Evidently, folk in this part of Kansas didn’t have a hankering in August for the images of sandy beaches and tropical breezes palm trees evoke,

Except for me, that is. I saw this tall, lush, lovely palm and had pleasant thoughts of vacations. Impulsively, I just bought it.

My sister saw me heading out to the Grandma car with a towering palm tree in the shopping cart.

“What are you going to do with that?” she asked.

Good question.

Contemplating the back seat of a Lincoln and the height of this palm, I had second thoughts; but I’d already bought it, for only $12.95.

“I’m going to put it on the back porch,” I said. “We’ll keep that Hawaiian theme going, since we probably aren’t getting to the islands anytime soon.”

I’d designed that back porch for my mother, thinking that she would love sitting out there, surveying her domain.

Mom never used it. It was either too hot or too cold on the screened porch on the north side of the house for her comfort.

When I moved into the house, I attempted to make the back porch more inviting. There’s an old chaise lounge and even a rug on the floor. In the summer, it can resemble a tropical paradise with ferns and flowers. However, if I’m going to be honest, it’s the cat that lives on the back porch most of the time and not me!

So, I bought a palm tree.

“This will make it more inviting,” I said to myself. “It will look similar to Hawaii. I’ll sit out there and have a soda.”

But I didn’t. The cat claimed the chairs and I didn’t chase her off. In summer, the porch was still too hot. In spring and fall, I didn’t want to be confined. In winter? Well, it’s a freezer out there!

When I bought the palm tree, I didn’t stop to think about where it would spend winter. It’s pretty big for a house plant.

November came and went. The porch, which Tool Time Tim made window inserts for, is still above freezing the first part of winter weather, usually. This year, as I recall, winter hit suddenly, and suddenly I looked around for a palm-perfect winter haven.

There wasn’t one, except in the bathroom.

Even the bathrooms, which we’d made handicapped-accessible for Mom, weren’t really big enough to accommodate a 7-foot high palm tree in the floor plan.

The bathtub in the bedroom that my sister designed is really a hot tub with a shower attachment. Through the years that I’ve lived in this house, the various tubs have been used for baby chicks, pond plants, and little fish. I’m a shower person, so it’s not a fret to give up the use of a tub for a couple of months, although sometimes the aftermath of cleaning required is a caution for ever doing that again.

This year, there’s a palm tree in the tub in the bathroom. While the snow blows outside and wind whips around the eaves, my tub looks like a tropical treat — and can feel like one, too, if I turn on the heat fan in the ceiling.

Every morning the palm tree reminds me of warm weather and the fragrance of coconut oil, sunshine, and ice cubes popping in a glass, until I look out the window and want to crawl back under my down quilt with a cup of hot coffee and peruse that one seed catalog that still comes to my mailbox.

The other seed companies have given up on me and stopped sending enticements to buy fruit trees and strawberry plants this time of year. I opened my catalog when it came because I’m wanting to buy two apple trees for my cousin’s grandkids.

The advertising on the cover said, “50% off by March 3rd” and that made me turn the pages faster hunting for the bargain.

However, when I saw the size of the trees that were offered, I stopped. “2-4’ trees,” it said. That usually means, “closer to 2 than 4 feet” and that’s a pretty small sapling.

At this stage of my life, which in seasonal measurement is “winter,” I do not have the luxury of waiting 10 years for a tree to mature. I need to be buying 6’ or 7’ trees to enjoy immediately, particularly if I want to see these kids pick an apple off those trees.

It’s another day in the country, and as soon as that palm tree can go back out on the porch, I’ll be shopping at that same store where I bought it last summer for apple trees — hopefully, already in bloom.

Last modified Feb. 28, 2018

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