I imagined my clematis flowers winding around the large poles holding up my swing.

My friend, Sue, looked at me and rolled her eyes. “You did what? Honey, you can’t plant any kind of flower above ground and expect it to grow–even if you do add dirt. Besides, this kind of flower needs a trellis.”

“I thought it could grow up around the pole frame that holds up the swing.” I didn’t want to admit that I had imagined a beautiful pink-flowered vine curling around the three poles by the end of summer but she seemed to be waiting for some kind of explanation. So I shared my vision with her.

“Not gonna happen. #1. The poles are too wide. #2. There’s a protective tar on them that would kill the flowers. #3. If the flowers did grow, they would get tangled up in the hooks and chain for the swing and you wouldn’t be able to swing. #4. It would take three or four years before the flowers could ever cover those poles. Bottom line: GET A TRELLIS.”

As if getting a trellis were an easy thing.

Sue went on to explain the kind of trellis I needed.  I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t even sure what a trellis

"THIS was a trellis." Now I knew.

looked like.

“Yeah, sure, my brother will take me tomorrow.”  Mike HATES shopping.

“Once you get the trellis, I’ll help you do the planting,”  Sue assured me.   

That next afternoon my brother left the house before I could ask him to take me to buy the trellis. Fortunately, he returned home with just enough time for me to go and buy one before Sue came to help me. “We gotta go right now so I can be back by 4:00 pm.”

“Come on!  Let’s go! Hep! Hep!” I rushed my poor brother to the car. Once we arrived at Lowe’s, Mike called out to me from behind the steering wheel, “I’ll get some gas while you get the trellis.” He left before I could say, “HELP!”

“Oh! I forgot my cane.” Lowe’s Garden Center loomed ahead of me. Without my cane, I faced a million potential hazards. “I was in such a rush to get here and get home…” I sighed. Nothing to do but face up to the challenge. I smiled. Life had its dares!

Where to start? Finally, I found a clerk. He was about seven-foot tall and had long, LONG legs. “Sure, follow me,” he replied when I asked him for help.

I half-skipped and half-ran to keep up with him. He didn’t even turn around. So, I had to keep right on his trail. I felt like a sparrow trying to follow an ostrich.

“Ker-plat!” I torpedoed over a wide, low wagon of gardening supplies. My face hit the corner of the wagon and my knees sprawled at odd angles. I quickly patted myself down. No broken bones. No blood. I was going to live!

The giant clerk turned around at the crash. “Oh my GOD! Are you okay?”

“Yes, of course.” My face turned beet red. He waited to see if I needed help but I scrambled up on my own. Years of practice made me quick. What was I going to say—‘I’m really visually-impaired. Actually, I go by ‘Fake Blind’ but that’s another story.  I know you can’t tell that about me because I don’t have my cane but I truly am’? It was just too complicated to get into.

The clerk headed for the trellises again. “Here we are. Do you need anything else?”

“No thanks, I’m good.” I stood in the aisle wondering exactly where the trellises were, combing my eyes over the area. Finally, I located them at the wall ten steps ahead of me.

“Sue said to get white. Here’s a white one.” As I pulled it out, three brown trellises crashed down on me and knocked me to the floor. “Aaaghhh!” I peeked out through a couple of holes. A customer came running. “Are you OKAY?”

“Yeah, just fine.” I gulped from the bottom of the pile. With Herculean effort, I lifted the three trellises off me. They didn’t feel that heavy but three of them were awkward to move. I bet I really look like Lucille Ball now!

With the wooden trellis now learning against the wall, I  lifted two white trellises into my arms and headed for the exit door. Which way was out? I looked around me. It all looked the same. I had forgotten to leave bread crumbs behind me to find my way home. These trellises! I held them over my head, then to one side. I had to be careful as I walked aound to avoid clobbering anyone. Or anything. This is not good! God, don’t let me knock anyone’s head off!The picture in my head of me tiptoeing around with my trellises tickled my funnybone. For a minute. And then I got back to my job of getting out of the garden section and to the checkout. I tried one direction and ended up at a dead end. I looked at my arm to see the time.  Mike would be wondering what happened to me. Oops! Forgot my watch as well.  Back to the job at hand. It seemed no matter which direction I turned, it led to a wall or dead end. Finally, I saw a red vest and grabbed the human wearing it. “Tell me where the exit is!” In my dreams. I asked him very politely.

He gave me a funny look. “Straight ahead.” He pointed to some sliding doors. Yes, there they were.  Less than two feet away!

When I got to the check-out, my brother suddenly showed up. “Where were you?”

I ignored his question and tone of voice. “Mike, I need a bag of dirt. A medium-sized bag.”

"It's the only size I could find!" Mike groaned.

“All right.” He went off to look for the dirt and came back bowed under a great big bag and groaned, “This is all there is.” It was a fifty-pound bag! After all his work, I didn’t have the heart to say I only needed a six or eight-pound bag. This would have to do.

“Use a wagon to move that dirt,” the clerk advised after I paid for just one of the trellises. I set the other aside. After all that, she said I would only need one for what I wanted.

We found a wagon (I glared at it and kicked a tire for good measure!). When we got to the car, we both stared at the bag of soil. Mike said, “You get on one end and I’ll pick up the other.”

I couldn’t even lift my end.

“Go get someone to help me,” he instructed, out of patience. So I did. But by the time I found someone, he had managed to get it in the car. “Go get me some string,” he ordered. So, I made another trip back for twine to tie the trellis on the luggage rack. It didn’t fit inside.

This buying-a-trellis-job was exhausting!

“What happened to your eye? It’s black.”

“I dunno. I tripped over a wagon.”  Geez!  I have a black eye now!  Hey, what if it’s a ‘shiner?’ I never had one of those! I peekedinthe rear view mirror but couldn’t see my eye. When we got home, the dog, which we had taken with us, refused to get out of the car because the bag of dirt was blocking the door he usually exited from. “Buddy!” He would not budge. Mike had gone into the house. So, the job of moving the dirt fell to me. I finally pushed the enormous bag of dirt onto the driveway, tearing holes in it as I dragged it away from the car door to give Buddy room to get down. I found a small trail of dirt in its wake. Once I cleaned that up, I took the trellis and started looking for a place to put it. I tried this place and that one.

"No more mothering for my Mother's Day Clematis!"

“Glad you got the trellis,” Sue said as she joined me in the back yard. As we went about the yard looking for just the right place, Sue stopped. She looked at the bottom of my trellis.  “Amy, you can’t use this trellis. It’s damaged. Broken. It’s missing two spikes. You’ll have to return this trellis.”

I looked Sue right in the eye and said, “Honey, ain’t no way I’m takin’ this trellis back!”

Trials, Tribulations and a Trellis
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