Friday, July 4, 2008

An Ordinary Snake Plant, but not to me.

This is the story of an ordinary looking snake plant. But this is no ordinary plant. Not to me.
The story starts back in the mid 1950s. My parents owned a retail store called the Carriage Corner in Brooklyn. Now the Carriage Corner was many things to many people, but it wasn't a store that occupied a corner. It surrounded the corner. The actual corner store was something else. In the mid 50s, my Dad had the opportunity to grab that middle corner portion and he did, thus making the store true to its name. As a good luck gift, someone gave my Dad the plant pictured above, which now sits in our living room in Tucson.
The snake plant lived happily (I hope) with our family in Rye Brook for many years. When we moved to Tucson, we didn't trust the movers to take it, so along with Monica's Dads Christmas Cactus (as near as Monica can ascertain, this one is from the 1930s,) my snake plant and of course Bisbee, I drove cross country. I bonded with all the other three living entities in the car. I had much to say over the 2400 odd miles or so. But I really had to keep the conversation going alot of the time. I'm not complaining. My passengers were excellent company.
So, aside from age, aside from lineage, aside from bonding, what's so special about the
snake plant?
A couple of things.
Now, this is the first and only snake plant I've ever owned. So I'm no Sansevieria expert, but some years ago we noticed an incredibly sweet floral aroma emanating from our Rye Brook kitchen. I wondered what outdoor plant we were aurally admiring when suddenly we realized that it was the ordinary looking snake plant, parked safely under a kitchen window. Now, I don't know about your snake plant, but this one faithfully throws up a sticky, sweet smelling stalk nearly every year now. I mean the aroma can stop you in your tracks! It's wonderful. Maybe they all do this. I don't know.
But, there's something else that I haven't mentioned yet. It's the second thing that makes this snake plant very special to me.
My father and mother were born and raised in England. Now, there are many Brits that came to our shores. I know of two of that share the same birthday (I'm sure there are many others,) and that particular birthday, to me, is full of wonderful irony.
Bob Hope is one or them.

My Dad is the other.
That birth date is July 4.
This picture to the right was taken July 4.
This ordinary snake plant has sprouted its sweet smelling stalk nearly every July 4 since it started sprouting flowers so long ago. Year after year after year......

Happy birthday Dad.


Monica Surfaro Spigelman said...

Aha! Do I detect something akin to faith....or a belief that possibly there is "something else" out there.
I am so happy your father thought enough to send you a message on his special day. I am absolutely certain there is something else out there and that we will see the ones we love again, someday.
Oh, and nice pix/post.

Jennifer said...

Lovely post Leigh. Sorry I missed it 24 days ago. I really enjoyed this history of your family!