Botany: (n) the scientific study of plants
That’s what we called her because we were young, cruel and indifferent to the feelings of anyone who wouldn’t giggle at our silly jokes.
I knew her because she occasionally hired young boys to do chores, offering a quarter for what we deemed was worth a dollar.
She had lots of cats. You didn’t need to see the cats to know this. It just required you being “nosy.”
The smell was horrible.
She was also rather odd (which, as I look back at it, I am not so sure is true, considering that when you’re in your early teens, “odd” is anything that doesn’t fit into your two-square-inch box of understanding).
But I do have one solid memory–she loved to lecture about botany.
She told me she used to teach it in college. To prove her point, she constantly talked to the plant life in her large, unkempt, stale-smelling house.
One day she took me on a tour of her various vines, plants and ferns. As she pointed out each one, she offered a greeting, uttered a name and mustered a bit of encouragement.
She spoke to them.
I was spooked–I thought she was going to have a spasm or attack me with a butcher knife like I had seen in one old movie.
But it was when she introduced me to her African violets and began to sing to them in mumbo-jumbo that I realized it was time to go.
I think plants are wonderful.
I think we should study them.
I think they are essential to life on Planet Earth.
But I also think we should not “chat them up.”
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