Saturday, August 03, 2013

Put Your Best Self Forward

These are cucumber blossoms. My garden only has three things in it this year: tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers. All three veggies apparently have enjoyed the wet weather, for their are growing wonderfully.

Is the blossom of the plant the prettiest, or is it the veggie? Can we even compare the two? The blossom is lovely to the eye, the veggie lovely to the taste buds. 

When we look at something or someone, what are we really seeing?

When I was very young, my mother used to dress me up in frilly girly skirts and dresses. I looked like a cucumber blossom. When I was 12, I discovered blue jeans and there was no turning back. This was the middle of the 1970s, baby, and I was right there with those who loved denim.

My mother hated my blue jeans and t-shirts. She thought I looked trashy. I was a cucumber then, covered with little prickles and thin skin.

To try to coax me into dressing better, she told me a story about my grandparents.

One day they went to buy a refrigerator, she said, after my grandfather got off from work. He was in his work clothes and my grandmother was in her house dress. They wandered the aisles looking at appliances. No one came to help them. They were too shabbily dressed.

Finally my grandfather hunted up a salesman and asked a few questions about the refrigerator they were looking at. The man did not answer them, but instead told them they could not afford what they wanted to purchase.

My grandfather flicked open his wallet and pulled out the cash he had intended to use to pay for the refrigerator. "I have money," he growled at the man as he fanned the bills, "but I am not spending it here."

So my grandparents left that store and went elsewhere for their refrigerator.

Perhaps I might have been impressed with that story if my grandparents did not have a nice refrigerator, but they did, so the moral of my mother's story, which I think was that the flower outshines the vegetable, did not sink in.

Or perhaps the message was lost to me because I knew the vegetable could not live without the flower. You kind of need them both.

Anyway, I continued to wear my jeans and I never really focused on things like my clothes or how I looked. I built up my insides instead, focusing on knowledge and morality, empathy and love. My insides became the flower.

To this day, though I am neat and clean and presentable, I still look like a cucumber.

Sometimes though, I do wish I looked like a flower.


  1. Did you do anything with your zucchini flowers? We Italians love, love, love them...check out some on-line recipes. Mmmmm, good! We can't keep a garden because apparently all the fruit, nut trees & sushi bar (koi pond) aren't enough to satiate the appetites of our critters.

    1. I only recently learned you could do that with zucchini flowers. Might have to try it sometime.

  2. I like the analogy, but I do not think you look like a cucumber!

    I thought the same thing as your previous commenter when I saw that beautiful flower- we ate the zucchini blooms. My mom would go out early in the morning to pick the flowers when they were wide open. She'd dip them in batter and fry them. They were a real treat!

    1. Thank you for liking the analogy (and thinking I don't look like a cucumber). Fried zucchini blossoms sound great!

  3. We have a garden at work, but so far, the zucchini are the only thing producing really well. We had an excessive amount of rain in June (more than our usual June-Aug average!), followed by an average July. There have only been a couple cucumbers and a handful of beans and snap peas. The eggplant and tomatoes haven't been producing at all. Of course, it didn't help that cold, wet weather made for a late planting season in this area.


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