He has taught me humility, love, and self-respect. In return, I have taught him how to marinate steaks in Dr. Pepper, how to spot a fake Chanel purse from 200 yards away, how to pronounce “Plaza”, and the important role of poison in the garden.
Last week, as he was weeding our “edible” bed of basil, dill, mint, and tomatoes, Ron noticed insects had started eating the leaves of his prized strawberries.
Now, Ron imagines the Gardens at Chestnut House to be inhabited by fairies, gnomes, and the entire cast of “A Bug’s Life.” It’s his precious kingdom to rule over with a gentle, loving hand. I, though, see it for what it really is - a cross between the “Killing Fields” and “Silkwood” - an insect - laden battlefield where any signs of rebellion must be abolished.
He mows, I Mao.
As he danced around the gardens in his gauzy linen tunic, practicing his neo-hippie, Earth-mother, organic magic, I darted inside to check my secret arsenal, finally settling on my ultimate weapon - Sevin Dust.
If you don’t know, Sevin Dust is a completely man-made insect obliterator created in the 1940’s at approximately the same time as the Atom Bomb.
Ironically, it was my beloved Grandma Annabelle that introduced me to my favorite poison. I carry bucolic, enchanted childhood memories of following Grandma around her postcard-perfect yard in Great Bend, KS, weeding, hoeing, planting, mulching - and destroying all insect interlopers with a swift shake of toxic powder.
Any crudite served at Annabelle’s house was Russian Roulette, a scene from “Arsenic and Old Lace”, where a sweet, charming, apron-clad septuagenarian would serve up freshly - picked vegetables that looked like the cover of a seed packet, but tasted like they had been grown in the shadow of Chernobyl. (It wasn’t until I was well into my twenties that I learned lettuce shouldn’t have a “metallic” aftertaste.)
Building on this legacy of “Man vs. Bug”, I now sneak my Sevin Dust into the garden while Ron is away. With “Gopher-Rid” and “Slug-B-Gone” close seconds, Sevin has a special place in my heart as my favorite childhood poison. Its’ label states,”...KILLS EVERYTHING” - hard to argue with a claim like that.
Now, I have “skimmed” the on-package warnings regarding proper use, disposal, etc., but I read these in the same way I read Shakespeare, Nietzsche, and the Old Testament - I am sure there is some very important information in there somewhere, but there is just so much boring stuff surrounding it!
At dinner parties, as Ron unwittingly serves our guests plates of my pretty poison, all the while naively extolling on his “natural” methods, I hide my maniacal grin, feeling more “Addams” than “Adams”.
Let Ron continue in his fantasy - now you and I know the real reason his produce is so perfect (and insect-free.)
If anything sinister does happen, I am going to keep my mouth shut and let Ron take the fall.
The way I see it, if he serves the Thyme, he should serve the Time.