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Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Southern Pearl

Sunday. 8:15 am. Phone rings.

My wife hands it to me. Says it's Pearl. I don't know a Pearl.


Pearl says, "Are you the gentleman that writes the columns in the newspaper?" Imagine an old Southern drawl. Better yet, imagine Minnie Pearl from Hee Haw.

"Yes, ma'am." (I'm not Southern, but I know the ways.)

"Well, I have a Christmas cactus that's in bloom and you just got to see it. It's as big as a washtub."

I'm still sunk in the couch with a coffee cup hooked to my finger. Pearl, she's wide awake. She goes on. She wants to see her Christmas cactus in the paper. It's so big, she can't even get it all in the picture because she took a picture and it just wouldn't fit. People, they need to see this thing. Can I get it in the paper next weekend?

I tell Pearl that I might be able to run it next Christmas. It's just not topical this time of year. The drop in enthusiasm is palpable. Followed by another summary of said plant's size, color, and size. I tell Pearl to email me a photo.

"Email?"

I give her my mailing address, instead. Send me the photo, I'll see what I can do.

A week later.


Hi, There,

Here's the photo of my plant. Some of the blooms had started to close up by the time I got the picture made. As you can see, it is quite large. I couldn't get it all in. I've never seen one this big. I have several different kinds. I have pretty good luck with them. I wish I could have gotten it to you sooner. I would love to see it in the paper. Lord knows we need something in there besides bad news. I'm 85 years old. Just hope I make it until next December. 


Thanks so much,
Pearl


Pearl's Christmas cactus. Big as a washtub.


Catch that?

Just hope to make it until next December.

A dying woman once wrote Stephen King about the Dark Tower series. How does it end? She just wanted to know before she passed. King hadn't finished the last book. He didn't know. Couldn't help her.

No pressure. None.

I'm not cut out for this.

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