Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mary Pecan

I was very sad when I heard the news that the ex-man's mother, Mary, died a few weeks ago.

Divorce can be a terrible thing, especially at times like these. If you still have any affection for the ex (and wanting to slowly, painfully choke the life out of them doesn't necessarily mean you don't care about them, let's be clear) it's difficult because you can't really be there for them. Not in the way you used to be. At the same time, one still feels the phantom responsibility and obligation and desire to do it anyway.

Same goes for natural disasters. I never wrote about it here, but during the dark days of the ice storm, the ex-man was hugely concerned about me. I received text messages that somehow got through that long first night when cracking, falling branches sounded like gunshots and cell service was spotty at best. His acute, long distance concern finally culminated in him purchasing me a generator, the Husky that provided life-giving light, warmth, and television during the almost two weeks of darkness we endured (I was not working at the time). At a family gathering that happened soon after, each cousin, uncle, and aunt, would greet me and the next sentence out of their mouths would be, "We heard Tom bought you a generator." It was a refrain repeated an incredible number of times (I have a big family). I know the Husky was expensive, but honestly, as I told the ex-man later, the PR alone would have been well worth it at twice the price.

It is for this reason and others, that I've come to think of the ex-man little less like Satan and a little more like Joe DiMaggio. This because while Joe's marriage to Marilyn Monroe didn't work out, that didn't stop him from rescuing her from various precarious life situations that followed their divorce, most notably that time he busted her out of the insane asylum after she was committed. Joe also stepped in and made all of Marilyn's funeral arrangements after her untimely death and, thereafter, made sure roses were delivered to her grave 3 times a week for the next twenty years.

While I don't expect to be committed, or to die an untimely death that would require such post-mortem lengths, I do nonetheless want to do something special for my own Joe when his mother dies. I thought about it for a while, and ultimately sent him something meaningful.

Of course, because it's us you're talking about, the situation would have to turn a little strange. The conversation went like this:

My cell phone rings...

ME
Hello?

EX-MAN
So...what's in the box?

ME
The box?

EX-MAN
You sent me a box, right?

ME
OH! The BOX! It's not just a box. Is it from Mississippi?

EX-MAN
Um...yes, it's from Mississippi. But I don't know what's in there...

ME
(chuckling)
Look. It's not an exploding box. At least not this time. MWAAAhahahaa...

EX-MAN
Look, I know there's a tree in there...

ME
Dude. Open the box.

EX-MAN
It's six feet tall.

ME
It's WHAT?

EX-MAN
At least. It's taller than I am.

ME
Seriously?

EX-MAN
It's a very tall box.

ME
It's in your office, right?

EX-MAN
No, it's out front. It was so big that...

ME
So, it's like where everybody can see it?

EX-MAN
Yes.

ME
So...let's see...you're out there where people are walking by standing next to a freakishly tall suspicious looking box?

EX-MAN
Yes, that is correct.

ME
Sweet!

EX-MAN
Look, they usually ship these things with dirt and roots and it could be...

ME
Hello? I did NOT send you a giant tree with a naked root ball. It's in a pot! I checked! But it shouldn't be six feet tall. It should be three to four feet tall. And cute. They assured me it would be cute. With leaves and branches and everything.

EX-MAN
You realize tree roots are often as tall as the tree itself...

ME
Well, no...

EX-MAN
So, it could be a three foot tall tree in a three foot pot.

ME
So, are you going to open the box or what?

EX-MAN
(I hear rustling and cutting and...)
It's a tree!
ME
I know!

EX-MAN
It's a PECAN tree!

ME
Your favorite!

EX-MAN
It...smells like a pecan tree!

ME
It should!

EX-MAN
That's just...kind of amazing.

ME
Is it cute?

EX-MAN
Actually, it is cute.

ME
Does it have branches and leaves and is it in a pot?

EX-MAN
As a matter of fact it is all those things.

ME
I'm so glad!

EX-MAN
I'll call it "Mary".

ME
You totally should.

EX-MAN
(more rustling)
I'm going to move Mary into my office.

ME
How does Mary look in there?

EX-MAN
Like we'll have to cut a hole in the ceiling to accommodate her soon.

ME
Perfect.

EX-MAN
That is...unbelievable. A pecan tree. Wow.

ME
Well, you know...

EX-MAN
Not sure what I'd ever send you that would top this...

ME
No need.

EX-MAN
A monkey maybe?

ME
Can you make it a chimp? Chimps have personality. Monkeys have those big red back butts and stuff...


***

Following our conversation, I looked back on the website I'd ordered from and, indeed, there is a sample picture of a 3-4 foot tree:
Unless that woman is only two feet tall, I perhaps should have known that the entire package of a 3-4 foot pecan would be well over six feet tall. Of course, I had pictured a tidy 3-4 foot box. Still, how cute is that pecan tree? The variety is "candy" pecan, one that is hardy enough to grow in nearly all zones.

8 comments:

met said...

Very VERY well done. You are an outstanding writer.

Nikki D. May said...

you make an awesome ex-wife!

Aynex Mercado said...

I know about that phantom responsability thing. My ex is paying my car! What was that website?

Brenda said...

A very heartwarming post, sweetie...

Suz said...

Excellent!

Anna said...

I had to go back and read this one again today. My favorite part is where you say, "Well you know." Very, very nice. Makes me happy.

Jeanna said...

As someone knows ex-man, I can say you are a very good woman. I can also say I totally understand.

Monica said...

And you are a kind and thoughtful person too. And I'm so glad Mary is in his office. That's a sweet reminder.
and really..that lady does kind of look three feet tall...