Monday, March 30, 2009
Today, after 400 days straight of rain, the sun decided to make an appearance, so the Chesapeake Bay Children and I went out to the daffodil field to inspect the progress of the flowers.
We brought a few baskets with us and commenced to picking since all the ones we'd picked last week were crispy and ready to be sent to the Flower Funeral Home.
At one point it occurred to me that although they outnumbered me they were not picking nearly as many flowers as I was. It then occurred to me that they'd never been told exactly how to pick a daffodil nor had they ever been in a situation where time is money--in other words, the more you picked the more you were paid. Growing up around here, that was the deal. You could stand in the fields all day long and take your sweet time picking, and maybe you'd earn a nickel.
Or you could pick like there was no tomorrow and earn real money. Real money amounted to about five bucks that you'd then squander at Drug Fair or Murphy's Mart on albums, for example.
(For anyone who is unfamiliar with what an album is, and the Chesapeake Bay Children might be among those who aren't, let me get back to you on that after I pause to reflect upon this question: If only yesterday I was playing 8-track cassettes, and then the day after that I had albums, and then just one week later I had regular cassettes, and then just an hour or so later there were CD's, well exactly how many more days is it until I can expect to be fed pureed broccoli through a straw while wondering exactly which one of my caretakers is stealing my knee socks from me? Can that day really be far off given the rate at which time is flying by?)
Here is how you pick a daffodil:
1. Bend over. Pray that neither your back nor your hamstrings snap.
2. Place your right hand at the top of one flower stem, and your left hand on another. (You are picking two flowers at once, it's all about the speed.) Trace your way down each stem until you come within very close proximity of the leaves which sprout from the bottom.
3. Pinch the flower stem. Do not tug or pull, which merely pulls it up from too far below the ground. Just pinch it. Quickly. Hurry up! Time is money.
4. Stand up straight for just a moment because if any more blood rushes to your head as you're stooped over, the children just might panic when you pass out. When you stand up hoping for relief and feel a fainting spell coming on from standing up too quickly, close your eyes, breathe deeply and try to unravel the mystery of how you are destined to pass out whether you're bending over or standing up. Realize there are no favorable answers and resume picking.
5. Rinse and repeat steps 2 and 3. Except pick up the pace!
6. When you're bending over praying that the only snap you hear comes from a daffodil stem, pretend that you're in a race and that you have to pick way more than anybody else including your own children.
7. Move faster! You're not picking fast enough. Good glory you're moving slower than molasses in January.
8. Consider for a moment the possibility that you have one or two issues with being competitive and stifle any desire to say in a sing-songy tone, "I picked more than you did," to your own children.
9. Instead, merely point out that their procedure for picking might be deterring them from picking faster and more efficiently.
10. Watch their faces screw up in incredulity at your instructions because really we're just out in a field picking flowers and nobody is in a race and nobody's getting paid for picking the flowers, we're just there to enjoy each other's company in the beauty and serenity of nature.
10. Consider that perhaps you need a vacation because you appear to be a bit, shall we say, wrung up?
11. Place the flowers in a vase and forget about them until next week. Also try and forget about the army of ants you saw marching up the side of your porch as you were bringing the flowers inside from the field.
12. Cry at the realization that you do indeed have an ant infestation and the ants are going to win this year.
13. Straighten up and go to work on Monday in full, utter and complete denial that you have an ant or any other problem. Keep denying until you convince yourself completely.
14. Good job.