Several years ago, I had a very tense conversation with a county representative. My neighbor had been depositing yard trash on the concrete cap of the street sewer and when the county sent out the heavy equipment to pick up this trash, the concrete cap would be cracked.Since I was the only person home at the time, the official told me that if it didn’t stop, he would fine me $3,000. I discussed this with my neighbor and his landscaper and the landscaping crews, to no avail. The landscape trash continued to be piled on the sewer head. Rather than raise a stink, I planted 3 large prickly pear cacti next to the sewer head and presto! The landscape trash was moved to a more suitable location!
That was about 7 years ago. Apparently, it was the perfect spot for prickly pear cacti because it wound up growing 4 feet high and spread 12 feet, bursting flashy yellow and red flowers every spring and purple pears every fall. Everyone in the neighborhood just, well, hated it. My husband would ask about every 2 months when I was going to take it down. Take it down? Is there any greater landscaping challenge? I couldn’t find any professional landscaper dumb enough to take money to do the job.
Yesterday, armed with an ax, a pitchfork and a japanese saw, I strode out with as much false courage as I could muster and started. Swinging the ax carefully at first, I took off the first few arms. Since it was so cold, the arms broke with a brittle crack. Then, I speared each arm with the pitchfork and toted it to the trailer. I couldn’t believe it. Not one spine was penetrating my layers of protective clothing and padded gloves. This was too good to be true. The neighbors tactfully nodded approval as they processed down the street past the carnage. One even asked for the pears. I said,”Sure.” Yes, I know. No good deed goes unpunished. The pears are covered with spines even finer and more vicious than the pads. Clearly, God wanted those pears reserved for a very select few. I type this blog with fingers that swell by the minute. I’m too chicken to take the spines out myself and will be visiting a manicurist shortly. I wish I had Valium.
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