Going to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens to see the orchid exhibit sounds like a nice way to spend a 25-degree morning. Not only that, there is a quilt exhibition going on there and a wonderful fabric shop within a short distance. I THINK I have enough fabric in my stash that I’ll win the prize when I die, but a few more yards wouldn’t hurt. Throw in that I’m going with my friend Martha and we’re talking Adventure City! I just hope I don’t end up at the hospital or in jail.
If it’s jail time, that would no doubt be for disturbing the peace. Not that we’ve ever been arrested, but laughter–raucous sometimes (read always) –is never in short supply and we always seem to choose a restaurant where all the other patrons are engrossed in playing The Quiet Game. That makes two women snorting milkshakes out their noses even more conspicious.
On one adventure we stopped at a McDonald’s and ate chocolate sundaes. As we sat scraping the last bit of chocolate from the bottom of our cups, Martha said, “That was so good, I believe I could eat another one.” We were back in the line to test her theory before those empty cups hit the bottom of the trash. Turned out she was right–she COULD eat a second one, but not as fast as I could.
Some of our eating ventures weren’t even in restaurants. We had heard of Moravian Love Feasts and when the Moravian Church here held a morning service, we attended. Right in the middle of a lovely service, women came up the aisles bearing large white trays full of coffee mugs and buns and passed them down each row. Wow! If there is one things Moravians know how to do, it is make fabulous coffee. It’s sugary and rich, sort of like the “coffee milk ” you could talk your grandmother into letting you have when you were a kid. I read that it’s because they brew it with the sugar. The large yeasty buns, not too sweet, (cardamon, maybe?) were perfect with the coffee. I thought it was a fabulous idea; we sat munching while the minister gave his sermon. Made the whole thing much easier to swallow. We’d planned on going to lunch afterwards, but were too full of Moravian feasting.
Another time we stopped for breakfast and afterwards Martha ended up having to drive my car while asking, “Do you need to throw up again?” every few miles. Carsick? I have no idea what set me off, but I did recover in time for lunch.
There is a lovely garden here in our city, much of it planted literally for the birds. The paths in the more formal areas are lined with old boxwoods. I think boxwoods are lovely, but there is something about their smell… okay, they smell like cat pee to me. One spring day I went to the garden with Martha and the combination of the pollen in the air, the smell of the boxwoods. . . I’m not sure what hit me, however. . . by the time we left and had settled in a booth at a nearby restaurant I was feeling awful with a roaring headache and increasing nausea. We ordered, but before our food arrived I had made several trips to the bathroom, deciding on the way which end had dibs on the toilet first.
On my return, I sat with my back against the wall, my legs stretched out in front of me–ragdoll style, with about the same amount of life to me. The arrival of the food sent me back to the restroom and I called out to the waitress to box mine, please as the trots sent me trotting. Back at the table, my food safely covered in a doggy bag, I re-assumed my corpse position and listened to Martha as she chatted cheerily between bites. She didn’t seem to notice that my closed eyes or the sweat beading on my forehead. Finally I asked, “Would you mind if I went outside to lie down in the car?”
“No, no! You’re really sick? We can leave!” she said, tossing down the last bite on her plate before asking wistfully, “I suppose this means NO DESSERT?”
Once in the car she looked over at me and tsk tsked. “You don’t look good at all. Very pale. Maybe we should swing by the emergency room.”
Martha grew up on a farm in Mennonite country and has a farmer’s sobersided view of life and death. She’s thrifty, no-nonsense, and thinks vet visits are a frill. Let’s just say it behooves her pets to stay healthy. She’s not much on human doctors either. As her husband puts it, “I feel like I’d better jump out of bed every morning with a spring in my step.”
If she thought I needed medical attention, I must have been in ba-a-a-d shape. “Just home,” I whispered through clenched teeth.
Afterwards, when I could think straight, I realized I had probably been hit with a migraine, no doubt triggered indeed by either the pollen or the smell of the boxwoods. I didn’t go back for a sniff test to narrow it down.
Therein lies tomorrow’s adventure. A botanical garden. . . pollen. . . boxwoods. . . just a 30-minute drive. Then again, the Minnow set out for only a three-hour trip. I’m taking Dramamine and Imitrex.
We’d better eat first.