Sunday, July 11, 2010

Blooming Thieves

One afternoon, I watched someone admiring the hydrangea bush in the front yard, look to her left, then right, snatch off a bloom and scuttle down the walk. I wanted to chase after her, but I was on the phone discussing something too important to drop. I knew she lived in the neighborhood, thought I'd wait till she walked by again, try the shame game on her, let her stick that in her corsage to display. Now, I know it's just a bloom taken, not something of great value like for instance, my truck. But the point is, the act of taking what isn't ours. And I'll be danged if not an hour later, another woman sharked around the hydrangea bush, yanked away another bloom. Foolish mortal. This one was not getting away. I sped out the door, caught her at the roses, said, "Hey, I"m happy to share. All you have to do is ask". Well, you would have thought I was speaking a Martian from the way her face scrunched up like tin foil, unresponsive, letting someones words fall out of the phone slipping away from her ear. Perhaps two conversations was too much stimuli, too much coordination required to function- a stolen bloom in one hand, phone in the other. I thought her head might blow up like one of those Fem-bots, bless her heart. This was getting fun. "I saw you rip-off that bloom in your hand", I said just to be clear. She finally responded, phone hanging from her ear like toilet paper stuck on a shoe. "Do you want it back", she asked? "No, what's the point in that?" "I'm sorry", she said, busied herself away. But her words were mouthed like a fish sucking air- useless.

Now, as a kid, haven't we plucked a bloom for our mothers, wild or from someones yard. We innocently thought, it's only a flower, or, it's a living thing. How could anyone own that? No one would mind just one bloom. And likely, most folks wouldn't mind a kid gathering affection for their mother. But the two folks in question were grown women, well-dressed, not stealing food to survive. Thieves in other words. I hate thieves. I work hard for what I have. Iv'e been robbed six times over the years, nearly mugged who knows how many. Last year, someone even stole the Buddha off the porch. Go figure.

I thought about boobie-trapping the hydrangea, waiting till the neighbor comes strolling up the walk towards my house , then put my boa constrictor in the shrub. But, snakes have such a bad rap as it is and Iv'e worked hard to change that image. Nix that idea. My sweetie suggested a recording of a Rottweiler having a hissy. We could tape the show, put it on UTube. I'm sure it would go viral. Wouldn't that be fun.
Instead, I made a sign - Flower thieves will be pruned, impaled it onto a bloomless stem. From where I sit, I can see everything that goes on in front of my house. Not that I planned it that way, it's simply a matter of practical furniture arrangement. Iv'e seen a couple of folks read the sign. It's sad, the lack of humor in this neighborhood. Maybe I WILL get that Rottweiler after all.


  1. too funny Sheri! Lilacs...that's what I used to steal for my mom. Now that I am in charge of my own yard and am pretty much a flower nut it drives me crazy when the neighborhood kids steal my roses and such. They use them to decorate mud cakes. Now, a bloom or problem but one year my entire rose bush was plucked in a day...all that waiting, taking care of the soil, babying the plant to have it picked to death! I feel your frustration and think you've kept a good sense of humor about the situation.

  2. Melanie, that's what I was afraid of. At the rate blooms were disappearing, There wouldn't be any left. Next year, I'm getting giant mantids. They've been know to eat small mammals. I finger is no big deal. mwahahaha

    Thank you writer2b. I appreciate the feedback. Glad you enjoyed my scribbles.

  3. ah yes. where i grew up (a power camp along a river in the middle of nowhere) as a small kid i would pick the flowers from one neighor's yard (the mean neighbor lady) and then present them as a gift to the really nice neighborlady who lived a bit further down the road. i couldn't understand why she wanted to know where the flowers came from, but figured out in the middle of the next night. i was horrified at being so slow to figure out that i'd stolen blooms from one lady and given them to another. Lesson Learned.

    enjoyed this, sheri.

  4. Thanks Sherry, glad you liked the story.
    I enjoyed yours as well. Very poetic. I can see the whole thing played out. Have you thought of writing this as a short story or poem? I think it would make good for either.

  5. When I was a little kid in Miami, I would go around the side of the house, pick off my mother's hibiscus blooms and suck the nectar. I still feel a sense of shame from that. Couldn't possibly take a bloom from someone else's yard.

    Maybe you could put a mirror by the bush? Or a little sign that says something like, "Please leave the flowers for everyone to enjoy;" or "Grow your own damn flowers;" along with "Security camera 24/7."

    I found you via Dave Bonta.. .

  6. Hi Elizabeth. Sorry I've taken awhile to get back to your comment. I can picture you enjoying those blooms just as I did with honeysuckle. What a treat!
    Love you ideas, especially the signs. Funny how a little note works to keep the theiving down. I haven't lost one bloom since I left one there.

  7. I'm sure it was a gardener who wrote BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Not the Disney one, the old old old one. And Rapunzel. See what trouble people can get into, stealing other people's gardens?

    Marian Allen

  8. I have a front garden. Most folks think that means I have corn and tomatoes in the front yard, but this is my beloved front flower garden that provides a kaleidoscope of delight from February to December. I've seen (mostly older children) snap off a bloom or two. The spring bulbs raise my ire the most.

    Loved your story and *really* identify with it.