She tried to break it to me gently, but there's no easy way to tell a woman she won't receive the Yard of the Month sign and accompanying recognition this year, or any year.
Now, although the accompanying recognition was once misappropriated to my yard by a local paper, the official sign itself has never graced my sod.
"I signed out of Garden Club," she blurted, unable to find a better way to say it, I suppose.
Lou-Anne was my one and only hope. Unlike her other Garden Club cohorts, she understands my homage to the au naturel. Even though I would never do anything as dastardly as sever a magnolia tree from its roots to make way for a cement parking pad, I have no qualms about standing by and allowing the magnolia to leave my landscape of its own volition. I am not one to interfere with Mother Nature.
"Signed out?" I exclaimed.
Ignoring my loss of composure, Lou-Anne answered, "Yeah, I wrote my letter of resignation. I don't have time for it anymore."
"I'm sorry," I said, sorrier for myself, of course. "I didn't know you quit."
"I didn't quit," she corrected. "I resigned, in good standing."
"Yes, I suppose there's a difference," I acquiesced. No reason to burn bridges, especially if she could join up again any time she wants, which I optimistically pointed out.
"I can't see ever going back."
She must have seen my shoulders slump.
"The next meeting after I resigned, things went badly at the wine tasting."
"Sounds like my kind of club," I said.
She ignored me.
"Our friend, John, told everyone about different types of wines and then served samples around. And," Lou-Anne paused, clearly disturbed, "he asked some of the ladies if they would like a regular glassful or a ..." -- she hesitated again -- "Lou-Anne glass of wine! People have been asking what a Lou-Anne glass of wine is and blessing my heart."
One of my greatest God-given gifts is the ability to spin a negative into a positive. My glass -- I like to think my Lou-Anne glass -- is always half-full. Unless I used my talent to help, she would never put herself in a position to put that sign in my yard.
"Lou-Anne," I counseled, "you should never be embarrassed about making a name for yourself in this world. What is a Lou-Anne glass of wine anyway?"
"An extra-large portion," she said.
"You hold your head high, girl. There's no shame in that. You will live in perpetuity because you've put your name on something. People envy you, whether they admit it or not. And you didn't even have to supply a large monetary donation to sway the Naming Committee. Before you know it, the White Columns restaurant will offer wine by the glass and wine by the Lou-Anne glass."
She nodded, but she's one of the most hardheaded people I know. She won't go back to Garden Club until either it snows in Miami or White Columns puts her name on the wine list.
Inside, I sulked and, with a Lou-Anne glass of wine in hand, plotted to get her name on that menu.
Lucy Adams, a syndicated columnist, freelance writer, and author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny, lives in Thomson, Ga. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.IfMama.com.