Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Well, Here's Another Vine Mess You've Gotten Us Into

            Wait-- before you read today's blog, I have to send a shout out to Gina Bikales, director of my comedy, "In Bed with Chuck and Lois," which just took home four trophies (!!!!) at the Desert Theatre League Awards gala: Outstanding Production, Outstanding Director, Outstanding Lead Female Performer  (Darci Daniels) and Outstanding Supporting Male Performer (Marty Rudman).  Here's what Gina Bikales, of script2stage2screen.com, wrote: I can't say enough good things about Joni Hilton and her writing. Every time I direct a Joni play it is a hit with our audiences. We had the best script to work with and a fabulous cast. Our Lois won for Best Actress in a Staged Reading and our Chuck's Brain won Best Supporting Actor. It was quite a sweep. I'm totally looking forward to producing Burying Aunt Beulah in the Spring, another Hilton hit!"
What a joy it is to work with people who do such an amazing job, bringing my words to life.
On with the blog:

                Imagine with me that you are an avid gardener.  You love plants of all kinds (well, most kinds) and you carefully landscape your yard so that something is always in bloom and you even have a mix of textures and colors of green shrubs.  In fact, people passing by frequently ask about a certain ornamental bush you have planted, called a Farfugium.  They love its shiny, round leaves, and you tell them that, in Australia, it’s called the Tractor Seat Plant.  Furthermore, it blooms in the dead of winter when little else will, sending up yellow daisy-looking flowers as cheery as any dandelion.

                Now imagine you have decided to plant a creeping fig vine at the base of your home, so that it will creep up and cover the boring, bland wall above your garage.  Plus you’ve always loved the romance of old buildings trimmed in ivy.

You watch as nine years go by, and eventually the tiny tendrils have completely blanketed the wall, a cozy and verdant adornment.  Snipping as carefully as a barber, you have kept this vine in perfect order, clipping around the address numbers and lantern lights.   Not only do you love the way it looks-- a canopy of green that greets you each day-- but dozens of birds have built nests in this protective screen, and hatched darling babies every Spring.

                And then, one night you get a particularly heavy rainstorm.  No problem, you think, awakened by the pelting drops you’ve heard before.  About an hour later you hear a train.  No, a tornado.  Actually, you’re not sure what it is, but you figure it’s a roaring wind sent from the bowels of hell, because you can hear trash cans bouncing down the street.  The rain is now coming down in torrential sheets. You wonder if maybe the animals are lining up two by two.   Most folks would investigate, but you have an early meeting the next morning, so  eventually you go back to sleep.

                At 6:30 a.m. you head into the garage, to go to your meeting.  You press the button that lifts the garage door, and—amazingly—an entire forest has blown in front of the opening.  At least it looks like a forest.  Wow.  Somebody lost a lot of trees, you think to yourself.  It’s eery that so little light is coming  through the thick blanket of jungle now blocking your exit.  You walk towards the amazing wall of foliage and then it hits you: Your entire vine has come crashing down in the storm.  

                The base is still holding on, creating a literal drapery of trailing limbs, and no car is going to back out of there any time soon.  It’s still raining, of course, so you and your husband grab the electric trimmer and a push broom, and begin cutting your way out like escapees from a cannibal’s lair in Borneo.  You’re trying to salvage the bird nests, and you do save some of them, but in all it’s a two-hour disaster.  No way can you get these to cling to the wall again—it’s a complete loss.  Not only that, but the clippings are now in a pile the size of the St. Louis arch, and it will take weeks to slowly divvy them up into the trash cans for weekly pickup.  You are soaking wet from both rain and sweat, and heartsick at losing the efforts of so many years.  
                You decide to let what’s left of the plant grow, and hope it will cover the garage before you get so old that you forget where you live.  Or maybe you’ll just paint a vine on there.   Anybody know a good plant muralist?
Check out my YouTube Mom videos-- just click on the right side of the screen.  You'll find dozens of life skills demonstrated in less than 60 seconds, but probably not How To Free Yourself From a Jungle Trap. 


  1. That's a funny story.....why do things like that always happen to you? Ha ha! I was amazed that the stucco was so white underneath the growth of vines!

  2. I have no idea why these things keep happening to me. However, I don't worry about blog material, I can tell you that. And I, too, was surprised at how clean that wall was underneath. Thanks goodness we didn't have to repaint! Yet. Maybe falling plaster will be next...