Lovely Mr (or Mrs) Flamingo at Zoo Miami
Mornin' all from the sunny south! 

So far, my day has consisted of:
  1. Waking up from bizarre dreams with my hand completely asleep, thinking that I was paralyzed
  2. Rescuing a baby lizard from Mr Nasty Pants Kitty (I'm getting less squeamish, really)
  3. Drinking way too much Costa Rican Crack Coffee (how did I ever go a year without drinking coffee?  No clue)
  4. A jaunt around the neighbourhood with Mr Charlie Rose (we encountered a beautiful  black bird with an injured wing... poor thng)
  5. Trying to stop Mr Nasty Pants Kitty from swallowing a mouthfull of the dog's pink tennis ball (unsuccessfully)
  6. Contemplating last night's Dancing with the Stars and coming to the conclusion that I will never in my life be able to move my hips in a sinuous fashion

Lovely Mr Flamingo in the back yard
But enough of that.

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite Saturday passtimes was spending the day with my Grandmother--her house was a treasure trove of crafting projects,  baking bread and cakes, and endless summer days playing in her gardens.  In the backyard there was a wilderness of raspberry bushes, and the month of July was spent picking juicy red berries and making them into a variety of delicious treats--everything from raspberry turnover to jams and jellies.  To this day, the smell of raspberries transports me back in time and I am a little girl standing in my Grandmother's kitchen, peering into the oven to see if the turnover is ready.  

Gram's front garden was filled with flowers in every color of the rainbow--the heavy heads of garish red poppies  cuddled up with demure pink geraniums nestled in a hen-shaped planter while exotic tiger lillies stood silent watch from their vantage point by the front steps.  Two trellises rested against the porch, supporting purple and magenta clematis, and to a six year old it was absolute paradise.  My days spent in the company of my Grandmother would prove to be a shaping force in my young life, and would instill in me a love of all growing things and an appreciation for the tenacity of nature.

During those summer Saturdays, our special lunch treat was cheeseburgers eaten at the tiny child-sized picnic table on her front porch, and after our feast we would wander out to work in the cool shade of the front garden.  To my childish delight, some of the most appealing features were the plastic pink  flamingoes lurking amongst the lush greenery.  The wind chimes hanging on her neighbor's porch would drift over into Gram's yard and mingle with the soft buzzing of bees as I furtively snuck off my sandals and buried my toes in the damp grass beside her flower bed.  Those were days to be cherished, and they live in my memory  in a very special place that belongs to only my Grandmother and myself.  We lost Gram sixteen years ago, but when I smell raspberries heated by the sun I am with her again in that corner of my memory.

It is in homage to Gram that Mr Flamingo holds a place of honor in the back corner of my garden today.  It is warm and sunny and the sound of wind chimes on the breeze is calling to me from the back yard.  I think I might just go and tackle some of the vines encroaching on my bromeliads... and spend a bit of time with my memories.



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