Captain’s Log   4,496

Montana is just four days away!  Hurry up, days!  I’m sure the hurricane is affecting air travel all over the United States, so I wonder if getting there will be an issue on Friday.  I have been following my east coast friends on Facebook (they still have power), and it is looking pretty dire for them.  I am always amazed to see pictures of people standing on the beach watching the storm.  Growing up in the Midwest gave me a great respect for weather.  We would have never done anything so foolish.

I did several foolish things when I lived in Minnesota, but the worst one was dashing outside in -35 degree weather to get my newspaper from the driveway.  Barefoot.  Let’s just say this.  I burned my feet terribly from the cold.  It was a truly foolish thing to do.  And I have never done it since.  Here in San Diego, one stays away from rapidly moving water that roils down the arroyos.  Because…..that is a flash flood.  The water is strong enough to carry away a car.

On a happier note, I bought some marigolds to celebrate  Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) on November 2nd.   People go to cemeteries to be with the souls of the departed and build private altars containing the favorite foods and beverages as well as photos and memorabilia.  It’s actually quite festive here in San Diego.  I guess I was supposed to put the marigolds on an altar.  I planted them in the front yard garden instead.

Enormous blooms almost the size of tennis balls.  Quite lovely for the dead or the living.  

The pungent aroma of the marigold and the bright color of the yellow petals will guide the spirit to the home altar  and to the cemetery.   Quite an honor for such a humble flower.

Marigolds were the only flowers my mother could grow.  I have always had a fondness for them.  She allowed them to re-seed every fall, and in the spring, the marigold patch was vibrant with young shoots.  Lovely memories.  Cut flowers had no place in our world, but those marigolds were allowed to thrive.

My mother was funny about a lot of things – like her refusal to make popcorn balls when every other mom was making them for the school carnival.  I was always the only kid to show up empty-handed.  She had some very unusual ideas and NOBODY could change her mind.  I wasn’t allowed to participate in any fundraising activity for the school or the church.  No collecting money to “buy” a pagan baby, no selling of greeting  cards to earn a statue of the Virgin Mary, and definitely no popcorn balls.  She was very free with the coins so I could buy the popcorn balls that OTHER moms made, however.  

One of the favorite things my mom would do was all about not eating meat on Friday.  She would gleefully pop a piece of bologna into her mouth and say, “Oh, my gosh!  I do believe I have SINNED!  Might as well have a whole bologna sandwich now that the damage is done!”  So can you guess who learned to question Catholic dogma at a very young age?  Just guess!

In spite of her spiritual “flaws,” everybody loved my mom.  She simply turned a blind eye to what other people did.  When the church “assessed” her to give $500 a year to the church, she scoffed and handed the priest a check for $50.  And she told him he was lucky to get that.  NOBODY told her what to do or think.   Gutsy momma.

I wish I was half as gutsy as my mom.  I am creating an opportunity to test my mettle soon.  I must always remember that a person’s fortitude is not always measured in how well one succeeds, but in how well one recovers from adversity.  Going to admire those marigolds for all their power and influence.  Indeed, I am.


Filed under Captain Poolie's observations

39 responses to “Marigolds

  1. Those flowers are beautiful! I LOVE our seasons, but I’m jealous that you can have flowers for a longer time! Enjoy them!
    The bologna story cracks me up!!

  2. I think I love your mom. And I definitely love marigolds (calendula, we call them)

  3. Joanie Benson

    Your Mom taught you well.

  4. Hiya friend, I’m back, with new digs… got a lot of catching up to do! Missed you so much! but so happy to see you here, still writing so beautifully, your mom is positively BEAMING at your memories of her…

  5. Poolie, the marigolds are wonderful. Your mom, from what you’ve told us however, was a force of nature. How lovely to have obtained life lessons from someone who never took life too seriously!

  6. What a dear mom. Yes, flights will be delayed getting everywhere. In LA, one whole runway has been given over to park planes. Scary thought. I hear I have a picture of that one coming my way.

    Warming has certainly changed things. Friends on the east coast have gone silent. Some are hiding in their basements. I love marigolds, but I’d like to know how they are even more.

    Hugs. If you get there oon time, we want pictures.

  7. Linda aka Swabby

    I would have loved to have known your mother. She sounds like she was a truly unique lovely human being.

  8. The Marigolds are beautiful and what a great memory of your mother…Everytime you let those flowers reseed and have more the next year ~ you can remember her for that. How funny she was with her bologna sinning too! I really do think you get your sense of being true to yourself from her… have a very adventurous spirit for sure.

  9. jett

    You’ve got more fortitude than you know! You go girl!

  10. Penny Tushingham

    Your flights should not be effected at all. You will have a large plane from SD to Salt Lake and then a smaller plane from Salt Lake to Helena. They just shuttle all over the northwest all day long. No where near the east coast. Can’t wait!
    PEn Pen

  11. You “would never have done anything so foolish”??

    Do I really have to go back through your archives and cut-n-paste all the examples of things you’ve done that put the lie to that?

    Jesus. Talk about a selective memory….

  12. bholles

    She was a funny lady. I used to use babysitting money put in the pagan baby box.

  13. Oh, marigolds. I love the giant ones, and I love the dwarfs with mahogany-colored petals. (I can’t grow ’em, you understand.) My father always included marigolds in his garden, originally because his mother liked them. Even the smell of marigolds still reminds me of Gramma.

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