Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Weird Peony Story

As an explaination to Susie and Airea, I'd like to tell the crazy peony story.

My first winter in Pittsburgh was marked by wicked homesickness. It was getting cold and I missed my family. Mateo and I were totally broke, but I took our last 40 dollars to an old, rambly nursery to buy a peony. Peony's don’t grow in CA and Mama Spurious adores them. I figured it could remind me of my family, and warmer times to come.

Unfortunately, I had this revelation at the very end of fall, when things get monochromatically brown in Pennsylvania. So as I entered the nursery, I was disappointed to find that almost everything had died back. Everything was Hershey bar brown. Brown like the 'Rockford Files'. Like Better Homes and Gardens for Morticia Adams.

I wanted to ask questions (I wanted a peony but I didn't even know what one looked like) , but no one seemed to be around. I bent to scratch couple of ankle-rubbing kittens when I heard a noise behind me, and turned to find a tiny, tiny person. An elderly woman, bent almost double by arthritis and covered in what looked like 12 coats, stared at me with evident crabbiness.

“What you want?” A thick eastern european accent got in the way of her question.

“Uh, I was just looking around and, uh…” When I'm nervous I get real articulate.

“You look for plant?”

“Yes, my mom really likes peonies, and, uh...”

“Peony.” she said, nodding her head, and stalked off.

I stood there confused.

“You come!” she shouted over her shoulder without turning around.

I followed her up the path, kitties swirling around my ankles, and she eventually stopped in front of a series of pots containing dead sticks and crumbly leaves. Their stalks were bent and weathered.

“Peonies.” She said, simply.

“These?” I pointed at the potted twigs.

She looked at me like I was a moron.

“Are they supposed to They look…dead.”

“Winter!” She was annoyed. “They grow in spring.”

“I’ve never grown a…how I do to make it grow?”

“You put in ground. You leave alone.”

“OK. Is there any thing else I need to know? I don’t have to use fertilizer? Or dig to a certain…”


“Ok.” I said in the smallest voice possible.

Her face pushed up into a smile. She walked away, and I grabbed the first pot I saw. I didn’t see the color of the peony, whether it was double or single, alive or dead. She had freaked me into buying a brown plant. I bought my dead peony for $9. I put in ground, and left alone.

And it blooms!

Posted by Spurious Nurse at 6/08/2005 08:01:00 PM


  1. Blogger Southern Fried Girl posted at 10:32 PM  
    So when should you hear about the next step in the Mateo job search?
  2. Blogger mrtl posted at 11:11 PM  
    What a sweet story.

    Heavy-European-accented people? Like Nicholai in "Six Feet Under"? I loved that dude. "I do do that!"
  3. Blogger Susie posted at 11:42 PM  
    UPS truck brown? What can brown do for you? It can bloom into a peony! Aren't they wonderful?

    I'd like to thank you for your recent insights on names with "ph." Names don't need "ph." However, there is a place in the world for "ph." I no longer use the prophane "F-word." Phuck, no.
  4. Blogger Amy posted at 6:23 AM  
    I loved thiswhole thing!

    "You put in ground. You leave alone." What a metaphor for so many many things.

    Great job, plum. Those look beautiful.
  5. Blogger Circus Kelli posted at 8:33 AM  
    You put it in the ground and leave it alone?! Wow! I think even *I* could do that! :)

    Great story!
  6. Blogger Aurora posted at 11:29 AM  
    Thanks for the story! Those are really beautiful flowers.
  7. Blogger Torrie posted at 12:15 PM  
    I'm scared.
  8. Blogger laurenbove posted at 12:42 PM  
    Plummy you're just plum wonderful. This is the best and funniest story I've heard today...actually for a long time.

    Thanks for the laugh. I have to email this to my Jojo. HE'll Die Laughing!

    (i'm worried about lawbrat)
  9. Blogger marybishop posted at 2:57 PM  
    Oh I love this story too - and it is told to perfection...not an extra word or a missing word.

    Perfect Plum!
  10. Blogger Spurious Plum posted at 9:30 AM  
    Ya'll are too sweet! How'd I get lucky enough to have such nice comment-y people?

    SFG- Thanks for asking lady! He's gotten a couple of calls for interviews already, and we're making arrangements for him to zoom home. I'll keep everyone posted!

    MRTL- I've only watched "Six Feet Under" once, (I have ghetto cable) but I really liked it. Someone referred to himself as a "big black sex cop" and I shot diet coke out of my nose.

    Susie- What I need to do is have some sort of planty-tutorial with you and your brother. Like so:
    Susie- "Spurious, this is called a leaf."

    Amy- 'Put in ground. Leave alone' has actually become a catchphrease Casa de Spurious for 'let it go'. It's remarkably effective, and makes us crack-up, which is always nice.

    CK and Airea- Apparently plants in Pennsylvania grow really well, just to spite you. So this peony actually hates my guts. Cool, no?

    Torrie-Scared? Wait, weren't you a chef? You've already stared the heart of darkness in the face and lived to tell the tale. Dead plants and old ladies are nooooo problem.

    Laurenbove- Does Jojo like to laugh at chicks who are plant morons? Cause I've got many more. (I'm worried about Lawbrat, too. Email me-

    Marybishop- Thanks, but apparently I'm not perfect, cause my mama didn't teach me how to listen...really.
  11. Blogger Nilbo posted at 12:59 PM  
    Ahhh, my little faux pomegrantie, that was a gorgeous story. "Put in ground. Leave alone."

    The good earth turns, the seasons change, and that which seemed beyond hope blooms in its own time. Life, wha' ...?

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