Thursday, January 05, 2017


Years ago, my first professional boss gave me a box with what looked like a phallus, a ugly phallus at that. It was a plant.

I had great respect for the man, who wrote a syndicated gardening column as a sideline. He was a mentor in every sense of the word.Thirty years into my career, his lessons were still helping me professionally.

I couldn't say to him, "that is the ugliest thing I've seen in a long time," even if politeness had not been drummed into me as a child. Had I done that, my grandmother would have risen from the grave and schlonked me on the head not unlike Little Bunny Foo Foo and the field mice.

I took the plant home.

My housemates also deemed it one of the ugliest plants they'd seen, but we followed his instructions and within days it had blossomed into a beautiful red flowering plant.

It was a good lesson in not prejudging.

Many years at Christmas I will get an amaryllis, never when it is had bloomed, but when it is still ugly for the pleasure or watching the metamorphosis.

This year I bought them for our neighborhood mamies (the old women of the village who share their wisdom with me) and one for myself. Theirs were red: mine was the white. I'd never had a white one.

I started posting its development on Facebook, or should I say lack of development, Day 1 morphed into Day 15 and nothing.

Finally, it started to show its true beauty.

There was one day when its progress was marked by hours when each time I walked by the table, it had exposed a bit more of its petals.

There's more to come even after Day 24 below. In this world of instant gratification, the slowness adds to the pleasure of the progress discovery.

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