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Life's Little Lessons

Stranger things have not happened.

My mother, the family matriarch, otherwise known as Poppy, mass e-mailed her offspring and our spouses. It read: NOTICE: A vial of what looks to be seeds has been discovered in the living room at Ottley Hall.   Be they thine? Or hast any of  youst knowledge of  from whenst (or  whost)  these seeds cometh or whithereth (or to whomsoevereth) they should go? Please advise.  Otherwise they will be planted on April's first waning moon in the gardens at the Hall.

What transpired next is purely conjecture.

My reply flew first: Could thoust seeds be spicenings? I do rememberest gifts of such and assundry. What dost thou thinkest spicenings might sprout? A BBQ hog?

A second mass e-mail: Thank you, Lucy, for your quick and insightful response. I retrieved the vial and carried it to the kitchen where sits the Frog King [aka my father]. He put on his glasses and examined the vial under good light. He had me to open the small glass tube whereupon  I, the Witch Toad,  sniffed the contents and handed it back to the Great Frog Wizard, and he sniffed. (The material inside the vial is not white or maybe we would not have sniffed so freely).  We could detect no odor.  He poured  a bit in  the palm of his hand and examined it  very deliberately. To rule out that the material could be spicenings, the Frog TASTED it!!  TWICE!!  No flavor. So it is not seeds, unless of the very finest nature, and not spicenings, unless exquisitely bland.   We are hoping someone can help.  We don't know whether to dump the contents down the toilet and flush or  sprinkle it on the  potatoes Sunday.

The game was afoot.

My oldest brother posited: Perhaps you should wait until morning to see if Froggie has croaked.

My Alabama sister surmised sand art.

At this juncture, my Mississippi brother ventured an e-guess: Maybe these are those coveted weedar tree seeds.

Then my Alabama sister, who presented the conundrum to a fellow professor, sent the resulting explanation: Vials, such as the one scrutinized, sometimes, although rarely, materialize in the dwellings of the "Blessed Chosen Ones" who have shown themselves worthy of being "Protectors of the Holy Seeds." After appropriate sacrifices and rituals, the seeds must be planted on the grave of an admired, although slightly sinister, ancestor. Unfortunately, since most Southern families have such a wide variety of admired and sinister ancestors to choose from, selecting only one has proven nearly impossible. Hence, it has been centuries since anyone has discovered what miraculous plant will grow from the seeds.

It made sense. Poppy answered: I shall transplant the sprouts to Dear Mom's grave.   She comes to mind first.

With our mother preparing to garden upon our great-grandmother's chest on the last waning moon in April, I posed: How do you think Dear Mom will feel about a BBQ hog growing atop her grave? Because, as legend has it, she'll either end up with that or one of those coveted weedar trees.

(Author Lucy Adams lives in Thomson. E-mail her at and visit

Web posted on Thursday, February 10, 2011

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