Just when you thought it was safe to be a little old lady

Published 2:25 pm Wednesday, December 17, 2003

By By Connie Nowlin Managing editor
The title of this column could be how the cat and the Christmas cactus conspired to break grandma's toe.
She got a good laugh about the column concerning the plants and the cats. I got taken to task at the Lions' club when Robert Maxwell reminded me it was not mama's generation (and his own) that created music without melody, parenthood without responsibility and several other truths.
But then came the day, not too long ago, when mama was moving the Christmas cactus outside where it could get a little sunlight.
This is not your average buy-it-in-November and hope it lives through the holidays cactus.
It is a pedigreed antique that mama grew from a snippet off someone else's dying plant.
Of course now it looks more like something you would see on a Martha Stewart segment. It is enormous, you could set a clock by when it will bloom – always beginning around Thanksgiving, and staying vibrant and beautiful through the holidays – and it is in a pot that weighs a ton.
So moving it is not something to undertake lightly, if you will pardon the pun.
But move it she decided to do, and all was going well until she made the back steps.
That is where the cat came in.
A large male named Bagheera, for the panther from The Jungle Books, decided to rub up on mama's legs while she and the plant were descending the stairs.
Did she drop-kick the cat? NNNNOOOOO.
Did she drop the two-ton plant on the cat? NNNNOOOOO. She couldn't do that. She couldn't risk hurting either the plant or the kitty.
So instead she does the grandma shuffle down the step and in the process, wracks her toe out of the frame.
In all likelihood it is broken, but she won't take it to the doctor, because what can be done to a broken toe? Not much.
She has taken to pushing the cat out of the way with her broom, though. And the cactus came through unscathed.
It is all part of being set in one's ways, I guess. She is, after all, nearly 80. She made the comment the other day she isn't sure how to be 80. She isn't sure she wants to be 80. She said the 70s weren't that much fun.
Thing is, I'm not sure I am ready for her to be 80, either. Or of the age where a cat on the steps is frightening, not charming. To me, she should still be in her long 30s, or the saucy teen-ager in her engagement photos. That's the image I have of her. So I guess you could say in spite of plants and cats and birthdays, at least in one place she is forever young.
Connie Nowlin is managing editor of the Atmore Advance and may be reached at 368-2123 or email at connie.nowlin@atmoreadvance.com

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