Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Welcome to Cheeksylvania!

I once had a neighbor who gardened in a pink dress, its waist cinched and skirt flowing as she carefully tended her small plot. I found her attire both horrifying and fascinating and could not fathom ironing a dress just to wear gardening. This memory pops to the surface as I dig through my dresser for my favorite pair of work shorts. The loose, quick drying fabric and deep pockets wick away sweat and help me keep track of my pruners. I slip them on and secure the built-in belt as tightly as I can. I throw on a faded pink t-shirt, dog chewed baseball hat and head out the door. If my former neighbor could see me, she would close the blinds.



Kneeling in the garden, I lean and bend and when no one is looking, wipe my sweaty face with the bottom of my shirt. In and out of my pocket slide the pruners, the belt of my shorts loosening with every drop of their heavy blades. Too big for my frame, my shorts begin to dip and I'm vaguely aware my underwear is showing. I tug at the waist, half-heartedly tighten the belt, and continue to weed.

Lost in thought, I methodically pull weeds and errant trumpet creeper shoots. The still heat has begun to cool and the sweat along my back is beginning to dry. A slight breeze drifts across my lower spine and around to my stomach and I smile gratefully. I continue to lean forward, ripping the rampaging stems of the trumpet creeper from my agastache and feel the pruners brush against my lower thigh, the pockets almost touching the ground.



The slam of the fence gate and teen chatter fill the silence. Suddenly, I hear my daughter shriek and gasp.

"OH MY GAWD!!! Mom, I can see your butt! Those stupid shorts are falling down again!"

The rolling hills of Upper Asster, Cheeksylvania are on full display and I bolt upright, grabbing my shorts as I burst out laughing. I quickly tighten the belt and call out, "Sorry, hon! My shorts are too big. At least now my butt's not sweaty."

I fumble with the shorts but cannot stop laughing. Hiking shorts off the clearance rack: $20. Flashing your daughter while gardening: Priceless!!

This post first appeared during the summer of 2011. I've reposted it for April Fool's Day.

56 comments:

  1. Hilarious! Every parent has to embarrass their children, and you succeeded in doing so while being productive in the garden at the same time.

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    1. I'm quite proud of myself! I was doubly productive.

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  2. I like this post! I get freedom on my garden, I don't care what people tell about me in my gardening time

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    1. My neighbors now have small children who will someday be my students so I try to keep my butt covered. :o)

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  3. I see you've done away with don't ass, don't tell. How wonderful to embarrass your daughter this way! Can't remember the last time I wore my neatly pressed house dress and pearls to garden.

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    1. You are too funny! I'll only wear a dress and pearls if you wear it with me. :o) But I want the one in the top picture.

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  4. Ah, you cheeky girl. My English MIL wore a skirt to garden. She didn't own a pair of pants.

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    1. I'd end up with my mulch up my rear if I gardened in a skirt. I love my jeans!

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  5. I was flipping through an old edition of a British garden magazine and saw a full-page ad for "garden attire" - I was utterly amazed! One of the best things about my current garden is that I don't have neighbors peering at me from their windows as I did at my last house so I no longer have to worry about my back side views.

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    1. I would love that much privacy. I am completely on display in my garden, which I don't really like. My garden attire is whatever is comfortable, loose, and already so stained it doesn't matter how dirty it gets.

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  6. HA! It reminds me of my 4 year old coming up behind me to pull my pants up! She reminded me when I went out to dinner with my husband to make sure my pants didn't fall off! Gotta love kids! This post cracked me up! I need to find something this year that doesn't fall off the back side and I was just thinking of how I could keep track of my pruners! My husband just bought me new ones and says that I need to learn to keep track of them which is so very true! I always lose the darn things! A wonderful week to you friend! Nicole xoxo

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    1. I lost a pair of Felco's one year. I'm always looking for shorts with deep pockets because I'm always cramming them full of garden stuff. I had a gardening tool belt once but it wasn't very comfortable. I think I just need more pockets on better fitting shorts. :o)

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  7. Happy April Fool's Day! So very funny. A great treat to celebrate today. :)

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  8. It used to be the thing with British lady gardeners to have a gardening frock. It wouldn't do for me at all, the skirt would probably creep up around my neck and strangle me.

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    1. I'd be right there with you. Or I'd get so frustrated with the damn thing, I'd just decide to garden in my underwear. :o)

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  9. In order for one's trousers to fall down...one needs to be reed-thin.I'm safe!

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    1. I assure you I'm not reed thin! The shorts were just too big. :o)

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  10. LOL Nice fun story and I can almost hear your daughter now.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. She was yelling across the yard. It was and still is very funny.

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  11. My late MIL always looked like a "lady" even when she gardened, and her garden was always well groomed, just like her! I garden in old sweats and stained t-shirts, and my garden tends to be like me, a bit on the messy side! Thank you for the April Fool's laughs!

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    1. Your garden and I would get along very well!

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  12. Oh yeah. I've heard similar phrases from my daughter. I don't think I've ever flashed her or the neighbors, but I've done plenty of embarrassing things--tripping over my own feet, wearing unfashionable clothing, having a bad hair day, you name it. Kids have a way of keeping it real and blatantly honest! Tee hee.

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    1. I have accidentally flashed my neighbors several times because I like gardening in baggy clothes. They probably just consider it part of the scenery.

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  13. I love your writing style on this piece. Ever thought of writing a book?

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    1. The thought of writing a book and maintaining characters, etc is overwhelming to me. I prefer short stories and essays. But I do love to write. It's a need - pure and simple - like water and oxygen.

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  14. I could not help laughing reading this, such fun how you embarrassed your daughter, I remember my daughters when they were teenagers, always worried that passers-by or neighbours could see me in the garden wearing odd dresses.

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    1. My daughter was always worried her friends would discover the worm bins in the basement. They were her big secret. She thinks we are the weirdest family ever.

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  15. Embarrassing our children is sooooo much fun......I laughed out hard at this story.
    My gardening attire has always been OLD clothes that are droopy and torn and faded....I don't give a rat's ass who sees me....I am in MY garden.....look the other way if you don't want to see me all sweaty and dirty.

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    1. Woohoo!! I don't give a rats ass, either!! Sing it, sister!!

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  16. I LOVE this post! (Although I hope that you've since been out shopping for a new pair of shorts!) I am dressed like a bag lady when I garden, and that means most days; old hiking boots, tough work-wear jeans, earth-marked at the knees, and a cotton oilcloth jacket in a state of disintegration.. Neighbours and friends are so used to seeing me like this that they only express surprise when they see me smartened up a bit for going out!

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    1. I am the proud owner of a pair of shorts that fit! One of my neighbors didn't recognize me when he saw me cleaned up and in nice clothes. He was so used to seeing me covered in dirt. :o)

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  17. Making your children cringe: one of the great joys of parenting!

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  18. Hahahahahahahaha, Brilliant post, I LOVED it. I'm the same, daughter can't or won't even look at me when out gardening.xxx

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    1. My daughters friends are so used to seeing me covered in dirt, it doesn't embarrass her anymore. Every time her boyfriend came over I was in my pajamas or sweatpants with my hair sticking up. But she still loves me. :o)

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  19. Upper Asster, Cheeksylvania... that is hilarious! You're too funny Tammy. We so love to embarrass our kids, don't we? Even when it's unintentional, it's priceless. Aren't you glad we don't live in the starched dress era? How would we have ever survived? Thanks for the laughs my friend!

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    1. I wouldn't have survived at all. I would have been branded a subversive and shipped off. But that might have been fun, too. :o)

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  20. That's great. I too have a stash of gardening clothes which I don't worry about. But, I haven't flashed anyone yet. Ha!

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  21. I always end up with crumbles of dirt in my deep pockets of gardening shorts. Don't ask me how they get in there - they must jump in when I'm not looking.
    Ray

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    1. I have that same problem. I think it must fall off my pruners or fingers. That's my only theory!

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  22. Well, kids' pants are often falling down, right? Why shouldn't they get a taste of their own medicine! ;)

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  23. Been there, done that! I can't decide if the neighbors are horrified or enthralled by the sight of me bent over with my butt in the air. I suspect horrified.

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    1. Luckily for me, both of my next door neighbors speak mulitple languages so I have no idea if they're talking about me or not when my butt or bra is exposed. Ignorance is bliss!

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  24. Oh my goodness...yes priceless. I garden in a moss green A-Line skirt that I wear instead of shorts. That alternates with a pair of old stretched out yoga pants, complete with a heart patch on the butt, courtesy of saving Bootsie by climbing over the fence when he was treed by the neighbors dog. They [the pants that is] fall down with great regularity...but they do the job. So yes shorts that are too big, mine were held up by garden twine...don't phase me at all...lol. you garden girl.

    Jen

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    1. You garden in a skirt? WOW! I also have old yoga pants that are comfy to garden in but I've never tried a skirt. I used a chip clip to hold up my favorite pajama pants for a while so I relate to the twine completely. :o)

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  25. My friend lived next door to a NAKED GARDENER! She opened her bedroom curtains one morning and had a real surprise.

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    1. That's insane! I would die laughing if any of my neighbors gardened naked. I thought you Brits were all so proper!

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  26. This post brought a smile to my face. I too have "gardening clothes," as I suspect many gardeners do.

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    1. I have a feeling yours are a bit less revealing than mine. :o)

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  27. LOL funny story! Plus you have great story-telling skills.

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  28. I could just picture this...mine do not fit and I am into elastic waist...need to lose this stress weight now that I am retired.

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