Thursday, May 30, 2019

Don't pick the flowers!

     The Chicago Botanic Garden is the biggest bargain in the history of ever. For $99 a year, you can stroll the grounds—rose gardens and walled English gardens, fruit trees and prairie, lakes and waterfalls, a formal Japanese garden and a woodland. Desert hothouses and profusions of tropical orchids. 
     And much more.
     My wife and I go there all the time, as often as we can. Just to stroll, talk, take the place in. We even go in winter, in February. The Botanic Garden is constantly changing. We always have a good time. It's like being in heaven, only you're not dead. 
      True, we do bring the personalities  we labor under when not in the garden. Which is not an issue for my wife, temperate as a spring day. And, honestly, not much of an issue for me, lulled into a calm, reflective, appreciative Chicago Botanic Garden state of mind.
    Usually. There are times when I revert to form, the flowers be damned. Times when, well, to paraphrase Boss Tweed, I see my opportunities and I take 'em.
    Such as this lovely orange flower, which we noticed in the middle of the path. A crowded path, right in front of the entrance. I quickly stooped to pick it up and hand it to my wife. 
     "Here," I said. "It would look good in your hair." 
     "The wind must have blown it down," she said, taking the flower, gazing at it appreciatively. I took a step back.
    "Hey!" I chided, in a loud, bold voice, waving my arms. "You're not supposed to pick the flowers!" 
     I can't honestly say everyone turned to look; I was focused on her. But she certainly squirmed as if they had. Joke accomplished, she tucked the flower behind her ear and we moved toward our car. A fun place, the garden.  


  1. I heard several years ago that Jerry Lewis used to pull that stunt on his wife, but quite a bit meaner. Glad that Mrs. Steinberg appreciates Neil's jokes even when they're on herself.


  2. You have a tolerant wife.

    Some years ago I roomed in West London and often spent weekend hours in nearby Kew Gardens, the granddaddy of botanical gardens, but, without a significant other at the time, on my own, unlike the person addressed in Alfred Noyes' poem:

    "Come down to Kew in lilac time. (It isn't far from London.)

    And you shall wander hand in hand with love in summer's wonderland."

    When I moved to a northern district I shifted to roaming Hampstead Heath, another storied venue overlooking the great city. Fond memories.


  3. I can empathize with Edie, the same thing happened to me. I was taking my parents to the Taste of Chicago years ago, and struggling along carrying a cooler filled with pop and beer in ice. As we got uncomfortably close to where the police check for alcoholic beverages, my mom not joking says in a voice too loud, "make sure the beer is at the bottom." Fortunately they ignored her.


Comments are vetted and posted at the discretion of the proprietor.