* Recall that I mentioned the Wood family from Greenwich in an earlier post. Richard Wood's descendants started the WaWa chain of convenience stores--small world kinda thing.
|Art or lawn debris?|
For those not familiar with bayberry it is a wild, native plant which grows on just about all the mid-Atlantic barrier islands. When I was a boy bayberry bushes covered our entire island from the ocean side to the bay. Now bayberry is restricted to the dunes and the last handful of undeveloped lots scattered around the island. Being a sentimental fool, I dug up some small plants a few years ago and transplanted them to our backyard. Of the several I planted one large one remains along side our back porch. This plant has grown either into a magnificent specimen (my view) or a large, unruly eye sore (diaristwoman's opinion). We fight about it each spring. This year while weeding she found a viney plant which she claimed was poison ivy. I claimed otherwise but she invoked the safety of small visiting children as an ultimate trump card and so I reluctantly got out the bow saw. My poor bayberry bush is now a ghost of its former self but at least I was allowed to keep some of the smaller branches of the bush intact with the the edict that I must here after keep up with pruning! After bundling and moving the twiggy stuff to the alley I was left with a pile of bigger limbs which I decided to bring back to Maryland.
Shaken from my day-dream at the gas pump, I looked up from the nozzle and into the eyes of my inquisitor. Those who know me well realize that while I, like most humans, respond favorably to art, I myself have little in the way of artistic talent. Never mind all that, for a microsecond I was greatly tempted to make up a big whopping story about how these crooked, tortured limbs reposing in the station wagon, (sort of like Lenin in his mausoleum), were destined to be "great art" and that he was indeed a lucky man to witness the very beginnings of the artistic process. After all, I'd probably never see him again. But then I thought to myself "Devil, if this is the best you can do in the way of temptation then we'll got a very long way to go", and so I told him the truth: "Na, I'm no artist. I'll sort through this stuff and set aside the few promising pieces and maybe make some tool handles. The rest will feed the fireplace next winter." "Tool handles?" he said, obviously disappointed. "Yeah, you know, handles for files, rasps, chisels, that sort of thing". He looked away no doubt feeling like he'd wasted his time talking with me and I suddenly realized, much in the same way as a character in one of John Steinbeck's novels, that the truth can at times be a very dangerous commodity--he would have been much happier with a lie--a story that he could tell around his family "campfire" that evening about the crazy artist guy with the weird load of sticks he'd bumped into at WaWa. My honesty had denied him that small, delicious pleasure. Our respective nozzles clicked shut, we finished fueling and went our separate ways.
|A station wagon load of bayberry limbs reduced to just enough firewood to make a single small fire next winter.|
|These few sticks might be useful. We'll see.|