WARNING: This blog post is sappy. There is no wisecracking comical remarks or anything funny about it in any way. Proceed at your own risk.
If you have been following this blog since its inception you may have read a story where there was a reference to a bunk bed and wondered what that was all about.
I was in my early thirtysomethings, divorced, bitter and living in a small studio-ish apartment in the slums downtown. This is not a joke. I had the Swat Team go through my backyard and search the house with guns drawn, not once, but twice. I kept a bunkbed in the apartment so when Jacob came to stay with me he had a bed to sleep on and I had a futon couch down below. Jake was six or so at the time (yeah, exact dates are fuzzy now).
Here is Jake (at left)around age 6 or so I believe in front of the Lake Street house.
Now right next door, my now best friend Eddy moved in. Eddy had a large cactus and this cactus had been grown from a small branch that had broken off of his grandfather’s cactus. Several years before his grandfather's passing, I had a chance to visit his house and see this grandpa cactus. If you didn’t know better you would think it was something out of Little Shop Of Horrors. Large, overgrown, branches held up with metal supports. This thing was scary and frankly kinda freaky looking, but damnit, it must have been 40 years old. I kid you not.
So Eddy has this cactus of his, which is quite large also. An evil spawn of his grandfather's cactus and one day a small six inch branch breaks off. Eddy brings this broken branch and sticks it in a small pot of sand and dirt. Sort of a joke, sort of “Maybe this thing will take, maybe it won’t.” The odds against it were great. This cactus pot sat on the coffee table and was the recipient of the coffee dregs, beer, used as an ashtray and on rare occasion was watered. It didn’t turn brown and die, but it didn’t grow either.
This cactus branch became sort of a running joke, sort of the undead of the succulents. It was my cactus and I was sort of proud of it and I wasn’t going to throw it out no matter how stagnant its growth. Then one day a small leaf pops out of the side. Suddenly there was new hope for that cactus. It was beginning to start a new life.
Now you can call me a romantic, an old man with bad memory, or just plain nuts, but I like to remember that leaf, that little branch popping out about the same time I met Susanne. And honestly, from that moment on, my life has never been the same. Now it hasn’t always been peaches and honey and I am sure she would tell you the same, but it does just seem to get better and better as the years pass.
Now this morning, I was in the back room, pulling things out of it to get it ready to be painted for Emily’s relocation into that room and there is my cactus. Like some old item misplaced, but not forgotten. Not having been rotated for some time, the tip is bent over growing straight at the window.
I pulled this cactus out into the front room to show Susanne and was amazed at the growth of this broken little branch, once just stuck in the dirt, over caffeinated, over nicotined, given to much alcohol and left to fare for itself. Then one day, it decided it wanted to grow. And grow it did.
Take a look at it now. Over 10 years this cactus has been growing in a little pot (only replanted once just last year). Time does fly when you are getting older. When I first stuck it in the ashtray of soil my oldest son Jacob was just a little older than Braedyn is now. Jacob is now driving, a couple years from leaving the roost and heading off to college.
I wonder if it will look like Eddy’s grandfather's cactus when Braedyn and Emily head off to college. Will it need supports to hold it up?
Maybe. Maybe not. If its parallel growth with my marriage is any indication, I like to think it will still be growing strong like it is today.