There are many things that my sister and I have in common, and one of them is our love of flowers. I’m sure it’s because our mother adored her garden, and spent many hours weeding, planting, rearranging and sculpting her plants. We both do the same now, perhaps because in our hearts we feel it brings us a bit closer to her.
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I recently spent a soggy week visiting said sister in her lovely coastal town in Connecticut. From the moment I arrived, she kept insisting that we visit a local nursery she discovered called “The Funny Farm.”
“We HAVE to go to the funny farm! You will love it. It’s just down the road from here – a couple miles.”
“I LIVE at the funny farm, why would I want to visit one?” I said.
I could see that she was very excited about this little adventure, and as an avid gardener, I couldn’t wait.
As we drove to the nursery, she told me the story about how this couple originally lived in New York City and would come to their farm on the weekends. This weekend hobby quickly turned into their full time love – and they chucked it all and moved to the farm lock stock and barrel. They acquired several horses, a donkey, a miniature horse, huge dogs, a billion chickens and turned a small pond with a few frogs into an incredible work of art involving HUNDREDS of frogs, including a large granddaddy who frankly scared me to death. (He could not POSSIBLY be real. I feared for my life, people.)
We parked our car and walked among the many plants that were blooming in all their splendid glory. I noticed a woman standing with her back towards us holding a hose, and knew instantly that this was one of the owners. Her black hair was pulled into a ponytail, with a little teased hair peeking out at the top from underneath a silk headband. We approached her, and when she turned around to greet us with a smile my heart stopped.
I found myself frozen, staring into the face of my mother.
My sister introduced us, and I listened as she and my sister chatted – and then I laughed as she shared a funny anecdote about her husband - Bob. (My father’s name…)
I knew she would have a sense of humor.
She gave us a tour of the farm, and we walked and laughed and were genuinely impressed by this amazing combination of nursery/antique shop/petting zoo and frog extravaganza that they’ve managed to create.
When we prepared to leave Claudia rushed over with free plants for us (there are amazing people all OVER this country) and one last smile and chuckle before she sent us on our way.
As we pulled out of the driveway I turned to my sister and said, "I can’t believe it. She looks and acts EXACTLY like mom!!!”
“I know! I know!! I couldn’t WAIT to see your face when you saw her. “
We rode quietly for a few minutes, both of us lost for a time in a sea of memory. Quite a nice, lovely, happy sea.