Terror Cell Plans An Attack

      Deep within the thicket behind Grumpa Joe’s Monet Vision a meeting of Wabbits from terror groups of every block discussed plans for taking out the Monet Vision. Last Spring they snuck into his yard and tasted the tulips and his prize lilies. He didn’t know what hit him. They forced him to install extensive Wabbit barrier over his lobelias, which made him work four times as hard to pull weeds. Not to mention, each time he discovered a snipped tulip bud or a clipped lily stem his blood pressure went through the roof. The group planned a new assault.

“We have to expand our numbers,” said Ali Bugbuny.

“Yes, but we must also train new recruits in the art of stem tasting,” exclaimed Sadr el Jac.

“What if we change the strategy from tasting to eating the flowers,” asked Yasir Flufytail?

“Hmmmn, not a bad idea” replied Ali.

The ideas flowed all evening. It was late into the night before the terror group finally agreed to a plan.

“It is agreed then, we will begin the campaign on the night of the full moon,” said Ali Bugbuny as he dismissed them, “be careful going home.”

The group hopped through the darkness keeping invisible as they moved through backyards. Usa-Bugbuny stayed under the front yard boxwoods. He sprinted through the open spaces between houses to the end of Brown Drive. Yasir Flufytail speed-hopped through the backyards to Charrington Drive, and Siwee el Waby dashed across the street between lights until he reached cover under a burning bush. One more sprint and I’ll be on Bramble Lane he thought. The others worked their way through the thicket westward to Ginger Lane. All of them swore to keep the plan a secret. They were to move about only under cover of darkness. Their plan would drive Grumpa Joe nuts.

“That was a most productive meeting Ali,” said Sadr el Jac.

“It is the best plan we’ve ever put together. I can’t wait to begin. I’ll see you again under the moon.”

Meanwhile, Grumpa Joe discussed world affairs and gardening over a glass of wine with his friend Al.

“Where have all the Wabbits gone,” asked Grumpa Joe?

“What do you mean, I have plenty of Wabbits in my yard,” said Al.

It is almost June, and I did not see a single Wabbit in the yard. My tulips were beautiful, and the lily’s are strong and tall.”

“I’ll send you some of my bunnies if you wish,” said Al.

“Please don’t.”

“I wonder if the coyote has been roaming through the neighborhood,” said Joe.

“That is a strong possibility Joe, they howl behind my house every night, but I still have lots of wabbits. It is late, I have to get home.” Al backed his car out of Grumpa Joe’s driveway just as Siwee el Waby made his dash across the street. The car lights swung out over him as he ducked under the Burning Bush.

Whew, that was close, he almost saw me. We have to live undercover until it is time to execute the plan. We want Grumpa Joe to believe he has beaten us.

The Wabbit world was abuzz for the remainder of the summer. Young wabbits went to school everyday, and momma wabbits raised more young ones to join them. Parents were careful to teach the youngsters not to go out while in daylight for fear of spoiling the ruse to make Grumpa Joe believe the wabbits were gone from his yard.

Ali Bugbuny recruited Aga and Bushr Bambi to join the plan. The army of invaders grew everyday. New recruits came well trained too.

“It is agreed, we will meet you and the Wabbit army in the invasion of the garden known as the Monet Vision during the full moon of July.”

“Peggy, have you noticed the big gaping hole in the yellow petunia patch?”

“No I haven’t, where?”

“Look there, between the potted geranium and the Coral Bells.”

“Oh, those plants are regenerating,” she said.

“I hope you are right, but it does bear watching.”

Grumpa Joe put the Monet Vision under surveillance. He took note of where the flowers were missing.

“These look cut off to me,” he told Peggy as he watered one night.

“It’s your imagination,” she said.

“We’ll see about that,” Joe replied.

Grumpa Joe sat on the patio sprinkling the flowers after a day of intense heat when he spotted a movement. His gaze froze on the spot. The sun had gone down and only the grey light of dusk remained. He saw a movement at the far corner of the yard. Yep, it’s a Wabbit he thought. I’ll wait to see where he goes.

Aga Bambi sat almost motionless. Only his mouth and nose moved as he chewed on some fresh grass. He couldn’t wait until total darkness as the plan called for. He had to eat something.

Aga sprinted through the Monet Vision into the wetland to the safety of his hutch. Inside the mass of twisted brambles he came face to face with Ali, Sadr, and Yasir. They sat in the darkness waiting for him. Sadr hopped to the entrance and blocked it off, Yasir moved to Aga’s side. Aga faced Ali in the center of a triangle of Wabbits. His escape route blocked, he had no choice but to face the music.

Ali put his nose up against Aga’s and began a Drill Sargent’s tirade.

“You dumb long-ear clown you ruined the plan, what were you thinking?”

“I’m sorry Ali, I was hungry and those Petunias looked so good. Besides, wasn’t that the plan?”

“The plan was to do it in the dark not broad daylight. Did they look and taste good enough to break cover?”

“I was careful, no one saw me.”

“Watch this.” Ali popped a DVD into his command computer. “These were taken this afternoon you dummy.”

The four of them watched as Aga relished a dozen soft-yellow Petunia blossoms before he moved to the deep purple ones. Aga dropped his head and eyes in guilt. The video clearly showed him violating the order.

“As punishment for disobeying an order you are banished from the Cell.”

“Where am I going,” asked Aga?

“To the land of native wildflowers where you will no longer enjoy the juicy and tender fruit of home gardens. Take him away boys.”

Sadr grabbed him by the back of the neck, and Yasir by the fluffy tail. They dragged him off to Prairie Park.

“Okay Yasir, on the count of three.”

They swung him back and forth, and on three they let go of him.  Aga went sailing through the air and landed deep in the tall grass.

Ali sat by himself in Aga’s hutch thinking for a long time. His mind raced through counter measure possibilities. After what seemed like hours an idea came to him. He finally hopped out of the hutch into the darkness of the wetland with only the fireflies lighting the night sky.

“I have to gather the cell and discuss the new plan.”

CITY FARM

My family lived on South Avalon Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. They call the neighborhood Burnside.  Mom and Dad raised us in a small house, with a porch across the front. The property was small, only twenty-five feet wide, and one-hundred twenty feet long. It was a typical city lot. Our house was a small, wood framed, two-story with seven steps that led from the porch to the city sidewalk.  Between the porch and the sidewalk, was a narrow bed of flowers, and a patch of grass.  The parkway between the sidewalk and the street had grass. Sometimes there was a tree there too.

All of the houses were very close to each other. The narrow space between houses called a gang-way was only wide enough for one person to walk through.  On the end of the gangway, at the back of the house, Dad installed a gate to close off the back yard.  At the back of the house we had another porch which Dad walled in to make a three-season room.  Behind the house, was Mom’s farm. It extended between a very small lawn surrounded by flower beds, and vegetables that extended to the garage and chicken coop.

At the end of the lot stood Dad’s one car garage. He built it directly on the ground without a foundation. It had a dirt floor.  Ma’s chicken coop hung off one side. Together the garage and the coop stretched across the lot.  The chickens roamed in a small space in front of the coop.

In this precious plot of ground, Mom and Dad squeezed a front lawn with a flower bed, a three-bedroom house, a back lawn and flower bed, a good-sized vegetable garden, a chicken ranch, and a garage.

Mom grew most of what she needed to feed the family right in her backyard.   The garden produced tomatoes, onions, kohlrabi, cabbage, corn, beans, peas, lettuce, radishes, cucumbers and more.  What we couldn’t eat immediately, she preserved, by canning.  The chickens provided fresh eggs, and meat for Sunday dinners.

Mom grew flowers from seed she got from friends or by taking cuttings. In Spring she had tulips, and by Fall the same bed was a sea of chrysanthemums.  Mom had roses, snap dragons, petunias, dahlias, bleeding hearts, marigolds, zinnias, carnations, and pansies to add a mix of color.  She planted any flower that she could get, and propagated them to keep it going.

My love for flowers, came from watching Mom’s delight at seeing things grow. She loved bright colorful flowers, and grew as many as she could. Mom kept a garden on her father’s the farm too, but there it was mostly vegetables, fruit, and berries, as opposed to flowers.

Her knowledge of plants came from watching other gardeners, and by experimenting  with seeds. She never turned down an offer of new seeds or cuttings from friends. Her trial and error approach, taught her the best methods.

Mother kept her gardens going until she was into her eighties. When her heart began to slow, so did she. She began to lose her sight, and memory. Her gardens became smaller and smaller. The loss of energy killed her desire for the garden, and the city farm was no more.

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