Thursday, July 14, 2011

Crepe Myrtle

My internal debate over crepe myrtles always stalls around this time of year when the spring garden has faded and Washington's lethal combination of heat and humidity (and a bit of heat and humidity related apathy and neglect) has begun the sad process of turning the summer garden brown-- or worse -- riddled with a gray scrum of mildew.  Or altogether dead. 

But the crepe myrtles? They are spectacular. Like gigantic desserts, multi-colored meringues, or ices--the eye gobbles. So what possible issue can I have with them?

I always have issues with everything --- I was just sharing one with Maggie this morning, as a matter of fact. She's in England for the summer, which is where she usually is. This leaves me to grumpily stomp about by myself in the afternoon, which while a (meager) benefit to being self-employed is no fun at all. 

So I emailed her: 

"A $5 off coupon arrived in the paper yesterday -- just spend $20 at the new Anacostia location of Yes! 

This was enticing since I was clear out of oregano and basil and thyme, so I dragged myself grumbling off to the car and drove all the way across the bridge to find that they have basil and something called Italian seasoning which contains oregano. But no thyme.

So I get a couple of decently priced cheeses and some loose peanuts, which does not add up to twenty bucks, and gift the coupon to a woman checking out and she blesses me several times and I head home. Only to find that the peanuts which were intended as my somewhat healthy lunch were rancid. 

So I took the bag (a major thunderstorm threatening, quite appropriately) and schlepped to their Pennsylvania Avenue store and told the young lady (pause) at the register that I hoped they'd be able to exchange these without my driving again -- and was told that they do not carry peanuts at the location.

So I said, how about a credit or an exchange for something else. And she looked at me blankly and got a -- I suppose -- manager who I've never before seen and he says, We don't carry peanuts in this store and I said, How about cashews or walnuts or pine nuts or a credit-- and he says something about their system and their computer.. and I say: Look. Do you want me as a customer? -- Though I know that at this point he's thinking, No, Jesus get outta here lady, but he's polite and says, Yes. So I say, How about figuring out some way of taking care of this?

Well. no. 

So I spurt -- OK that's it. I will never darken your door again [or words to that effect]-- and this tale will be told ....and I toss the peanuts on the counter, saying,  Keep your rancid peanuts....and I depart."

Moments later, I told Maggie, lightening flashed and it began to pour and I had neither peanuts nor an umbrella so I went to our usual afternoon haunt and got myself some water, which when I look at it now seems redundant and also sadly penitential. If she had been with me we both would have berated the manager and would have had a good chew over it. And then cursed some dog walkers hauling their beasts through the shrubbish and such. 

That was all an aside. 

I had room for a crepe myrtle in the backyard, after the demise of the bloody apricot, which at least had the benefit of hiding the huge and VERY EXPENSIVE HOUSES that went up behind ours, marring the view. Instead, we chose a ridiculous cherry, which was promised as fast growing, and indeed grew so quickly out of bounds that I haven't enough sun for even the most minuscule patch of zinnias (mildew! death!).

I had room for a crepe myrtle, a tree I always admire--but I said to myself, No....crepe myrtles are the last things to green-up in spring, which is dismal against the tulips and azaleas in such a little space. And another year has gone round and I regret that decision. As usual. Sigh.


  1. Would have cheerfully swopped the cool winds of the Yorkshire coast for a hot, humid, 'bitching' session with my pal Steph. Love my time here - in my harbor-side home - away from the horrendous heat and skeeters, but do miss my ramblings (both physical and verbal) with her! Maggie.

  2. Hi Stephanie,

    I'm originally from VA Beach and we had Crepe Myrtles everywhere. By the time the heat blanket of August settled in, leaving a trail of havoc on all plant life, only the CMs were lush and in bloom. Are we sure they're not weeds? lol


    ps. - I was in Middleburg two years ago on a research grant with the National Sporting Library. Got some great riding in the hunt country surrounding. Red Fox Inn was where I had dinner my first night in Middleburg. Thanks for the memories.

  3. Thanks Michael! Appreciate the note. DC is wilted today -- except for those CMs which are almost obnoxiously perky in the heat haze. S


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