Saturday, June 03, 2006

Magnolia Memory


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When we first bought this property in the mid '80's, we didn't have a clue as to how we would actually get here before we were too old to enjoy it. (actually we must have had a clue or we wouldn't be here now, would we?)

Anyway, at first our visits were few and far between. We were in Savannah and then a transfer home to St. Auggie, but still not here. I would slip over here to put up fence whenever possible and it was on one of those trips that I met Mr. B.

Mr. B. was standing by the saggy field fence that delineated our northern, his southern boundary as I walked along exploring the new place. He was an older man with a huge old fashioned straw sun hat that shaded his face. He waved me over and greeted me with a smile. We talked about the place. He was naturally curious as to the new owners of the adjacent property. I explained to him that we wanted to get on the property, but had to work out the details (switch careers) to make it work.

Of course, we did get out here, and we did it within two years of that fence conversation. Through the years, we got to know Mr. and Mrs. B. better and they turned out to be the very best kind of neighbor. He was retired from the phone company and operated a small muscadine grape vineyard and a nursery. Every weekend he and his wife would load up their old truck with plants to take to the flea market. In the season, they would take fresh picked muscadines to sell. They worked hard and lived very simply in a tiny, old single wide trailer.

As he got older and his legs bothered him, he was a common site riding around on his red Murray lawn tractor with his huge sun hat. The kids took over cookies or cakes and came home carrying plants. When I went over to buy plants, I would come home with 3 or 4 freebies plus the one I had actually paid for. " Here, take this home and try it..." He would not take no for an answer and he would not take any more money...even though I know they could use every extra cent. Alot of freebies came over that fence.

It was from Mr. and Mrs. B that I got the fringe tree I posted about earlier as well as this gorgeous young magnolia that graces my front yard.

Mr. and Mrs. B are gone now, but I think of them every time these two trees bloom.

...Seems like they're still giving me freebies.
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14 comments:

robin andrea said...

What a nice way to remember Mr. B. Some gifts just really do keep on giving. That is a beautiful magnolia.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Mr. & Mrs. B are just the kind of neighbors we all would love to have and you were certainly blessed to have them for a while. It's lovely how you remember him everytime your trees bloom and they're probably smiling down at you too.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Nice post, Cracker. Good neighbors is sometimes VERY hard to find.

Gin said...

Good neighbors seem to make good neighbors. I bet Mr & Mrs B thought just as much of you and your family as you did of them.

John Cowart said...

That's a happy memory. Make me wonder what my neighbors would say.

threecollie said...

I love the way plants that we share with others, or that they share with us can offer a lasting touchstone for memories. Perhaps that is why our house is absurdly filled with greenery. Lovely post!

Mrs. S said...

Good neighbors are hard to find, but they seem all the more wonderful for their rare-ness, don't they?

Woodie said...

We've got a nice magnolia in our front yard. It has recovered nicely from the trauma of 1998, when they cleared our lot for the house. It seems that the bulldozer guy pushed over a monster live oak to make room for the house, but its way down, the oak tore off all the branches on one side of the then-young magnolia. The trauma was so severe that the magnolia did not bloom at all that year. It now has filled in, and provides us with nice white blooms every year...

pablo said...

Yes, indeed about the good neighbors.

Didn't you post a photo of them some time ago? Seems like I recall a picture of your kids when they were much smaller, standing in front of a trailer with some oldtimers.

Nice memorial they have left you. And a nice post, too.

Deb said...

What great neighbors. And it's nice to hear some of the story of how you got to your land!

Floridacracker said...

Robin,
True, this gift could conceivably "give" for a hundred years or more.

Abandoned,
They were a nice couple...very independent/

Hoss,
I can imagine what you mean.

Gin,
Thanks. We try to be good ones.

John,
We have the luxury of large acreages around us which limits the number of neighbors and the amount of contact.

Threecollie,
True about plants. I have Aunt Florences guava, Aunt Doris's spiky bromelliad, and Papa's coontie plants all about the place.

Mrs. S,
May you have the best!

Woodie,
They are pretty amazing when in full bloom.

Pablo,
You are the good neighbor lucky rabbits foot.
The picture you're thinking of was the gator hunter Rufus and his wife. I never took any shots of the B's.

Deb,
Thanks, we got here with gut wrenching career decisions and fortitude...same as anybody else who makes dreams come true.

roger said...

good neighbors are a reward for something. or maybe just grace. either way works. we also have house plants that we identify by the donor.

was that when you switched to teaching?

Hick said...

Seems like giving a gift that continues to give pleasure is the best kind of gift, no matter how humble.

Floridacracker said...

dpr,
yes, that was the career switch.

Hick,
...as opposed to the gift which gets immediately regifted :)