Saturday, April 16, 2011

Before Palm Sunday Feeling The Pain

In 2008 with the darkening clouds of The Great Recession gathering on the horizon the Queen took the last of her life savings and purchased 48 Canary Island Palm trees, known to academics and master gardeners as Pheonix Canarienisis, but known to my friends by the more common name "my favorite palm tree." There was something Jack-and-the-Beanstalkess about spending your last dime on a worthless plant and having that lead to the Goose that Lays Golden Eggs but those palm trees for which she paid less than $49 a piece are on their way to being worth $10,000 each (before deducting the costs of hiring workers to dig them out, renting a crane to lift them up and paying commissions to a sales broker to find them homes), which is to say they are growing and need a hair cut.

What better time to trim them than in preparation for Palm Sunday, and besides, the needles on the large fronds closest to the trunk of the palm pose a threat to Bluey who enjoys watering them with his hose each morning. "Would you please cut those palms," requests the Queen, who starts singing a song about how I do nothing in the vineyard, and don't take care of the weeds, and how it's her vineyard and her palm trees and don't you care about your dog who's always going pee-pee at the foot of the palms and is about to be impaled (if not circumcised) by them.

Armed with hand clippers, a saw and a loper and I begin the task and quickly feel that a knight's shinning armour would provide better protection to my hands than canvas gloves. A poke to the forearm here, a poke to to the hand there and the shirt I'm wearing exhibits expanding stains of blood, not wine, which I don't think too much about until I remember stories about flesh-eating bacteria entering innocuous cuts and it's probably not a bad idea to wipe the punctured flesh with an alcohol swab, which I do, and consume a shot of grappa for extra protection. A few days pass and I notice in the mirror that my whole right forearm looks like a rotting banana. A spreading infection? Since I'm heading to a reception where a few doctor friends are likely to be, I decide to ask them. My college classmate Ted Hendershot from Lexington, KY is there. "Ted, what kind of doctor are you?" I ask as I pour him a glass of Blue-Merle wine, which I gladly share in exchange for advice.

"Infectious diseases."

"Perfect, take another pour and have a look at this, will you" as I roll up my sleeve to expose my arm.

"That looks like a bruise, not an infection. Keep an eye on it."

So I keep an eye on it and each night lay my good hand upon it and recite a healing prayer. Palm Sunday is here. The bruise is gone. Praise the Lord.

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