Kathleen Norton

Welcome to Alcatraz

Posted on: March 26, 2010

Ready, set, dig!

The whole world calls it “Spring.”  But we call it Hell.

It comes around every year and reminds us there is nothing but a quarry in our yard and that our garden is nothing but another Alcatraz.

Our shovels go in the ground make one sound. CLANK! CLANK! CLANK!

We sit around, cry and blame the Stupid Ice Age, which created all the rocks, plus a whole bunch of cliffs. Those may come in handy because at some point, planting flowers in Alcatraz is going drive us over the edge.

“Those #%@ glaciers!’’ my husband cries as his garden shovel hits pebbles, boulders  and on one occasion, an entire mountain range.

It is is not pretty. But he draws a crowd because let’s face it, it’s not often you hear somebody cuss out a prehistoric phenomena.

The worst was the day he tried to dig a puny hole for a little rose bush. He’d been in the yard a while when I heard shouting and glanced out the window.

There he stood with his fist raised to the sky. “As God as my witness,’’ he shouted. “I’ll never dig in this yard again!’’

He looked exactly like Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind’’ except he’s a man, a Yankee and he would die before he put on a hoop skirt.

But other than that, they looked exactly the same.

“Hang in there, Miss Scarlett,’’ I yelled. “Help is on the way.’’

When we finished, the rose bush was in the ground, but we had to build a patio and a replica of the Great Wall of China in order to get rid of all the rocks.

It was either that or call in friends from flatter places. I am suspicious they value our terrain more than our friendship.

On one visit, they filled the trunk with leftovers from our rock pile and drove off yelling: “This stuff would cost a fortune from a landscaper!’’

If we weren’t so tired from digging, we would have pelted the car with rocks.

We want to stop this madness. But we can’t.

A bad case of Garden fever is running the show at this point, not us.

So starting this month and straight through to November, you know where to look if you need to me or Miss Scarlett.

We’ll be out back, damning geology and breaking our backs on “The Rock.”

(In case you missed it, click here and check out Kathleen’s new  feature — Funny Stuff This Week!)

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9 Responses to "Welcome to Alcatraz"

Very funny. Can you ship some of those rocks to Staten Island? I need three different colors for the rock garden. They’re precious. Each bag is about $10.

Thank you so much for the card. I am on the road to recovery, returning to work on April 7 along with radiation treatments but I’m told they won’t be horrible and I won’t be radioactive. How’s garndparenthood?

Eleanor: Our rocks are lots cheaper! Glad to hear you are recovering. Please keep me posted.

Grandmotherhood is the best. (Much more fun than motherhood, but don’t tell my kids I said so!)

A very amusing blog! 🙂

It’s amazing what some people take for granted!! Tell Gerry he’s sitting on a gold mine up there.
My cousin tells me she dug in the stream behind her property for 3 hours with her husband and daughter today collecting rocks for their rock wall they hope to build.
Fill up the trunk when you come for a visit-we never have enough good rocks around here!!

Tell your cousins I feel their pain!

Very amusing story. My husband still likes chips and salsa for dinner and won’t touch green food…unless it is mold on a piece of meat. I think I’m safe for now…as long as he is willing to visit my relatives, I’ll be quiet as a mouse.

Marieta: Good strategy. Gotta go. The cookies are calling me.

I heard this piece on the radio and couldn’t stop laughing. I wanted to read it to my husband and came looking for it, but this looks like an abbreviated version. Is there a copy of the full piece that was on NPR anywhere?
Thanks!

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