Crow’s-Feet Chronicles: Hue knew?
By Cindy Baker Burnett
Nov 27, 2017
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Even as an older adult (Remembering when the operator said, “Number please” qualifies me), I am continuously stumbling upon life-changing morsels of delight. While visiting my sister, I marveled at her six massive Swedish ivy hanging baskets that adorn her patio. “Where do you keep your hanging baskets in the wintertime, Kathy?” I asked, wincing at the thought of the space and care required to nurse those monstrosities until the following spring. 

“I ditch ‘em,” she answered proudly. 

“WHA-A-AT?” I gasped, shocked at the thought of tossing such gorgeous, plump foliage instead of prudently salvaging the lush investment. 

“Hey,” she continued, “I figure I’ve gotten my money’s worth, and I don’t want to pinch off dead branches and vacuum leafy debris from the carpet for 6 months.” 

“B-B-B-ut, they’re still so pretty,” I stammered. “How can you bear to discard them?” 

Kathy insisted, “It’s very liberating, but I wouldn’t recommend going cold turkey at first. Take baby steps and spray the hanging baskets a nice shade of green the first year. After a full winter of your neighbors’ ridicule, you’ll be eager to annihilate the baskets the following year.” 

What a genius! Kathy’s brilliant gimmick must have come straight from our grandmother, whose entire life revolved around making something out of nothing---or was it the other way around? Nanaw could find a use for an old corn pad; and, likewise, we were trained to save our Popsicle sticks for her crafty projects. She was still making wastebaskets from foam egg cartons on her 78th birthday. By the way, she blew the egg whites and yolks through tiny holes drilled in the eggshells so she could use the shells for her Easter centerpiece.   And, I still have a decanter she made from collecting glass from the rear windows of wrecked cars. 

In fact, Nanaw had Nanaw-cological uses for things of which their inventors had never dreamed. She figured a little castor oil would make anything go faster---drills, fans, clocks, or kids. And, a few drops of camphor oil in a steam iron, and you could press a blouse and cure a cough simultaneously. A hairpin could be used for getting marbles out of kids’ noses, opening door locks, untying knots, cleaning wax out of candlesticks or ears, removing a splinter, plucking a chicken, or pitting cherries. And, used razor blades could be sharpened by honing them against the inside surface of a glass. 

Nanaw would have been proud of Kathy’s cleverness in spray-painting a hanging basket to spruce up the porch during the winter months.   Knowing my grandmother, I’m confident that she would have studied the chart and chosen the exact shade of green.   I’m thinking that I rushed the color selection process this week, though.   Loden green seemed like a perfect match.   Silly neighbors. How could anybody confuse an asparagus fern with . . . 

Ninja Turtle?