Pure passion — bowled over by a passion vine

Southern Hospitality

As Mother Teresa used to say, ““Give, but give until it hurts.” I discovered what that means when, just the other day, I pulled a passion vine root out of the ground to give to my sister, Cathy, who wanted to plant it in her own yard. She was standing nearby when I trudged through my English cutting garden, through the god-awful red mulch (dang our H.O.A.), to the beautiful vine in question.

I searched through the tender, new growth and found a baby root coming up from the trunk of the mother plant. Aha! Oh yeah, baby! This is going to be simple, I thought.

Upon closer inspection, however, the baby was connected to a very thick root. I can do this, I thought. I knelt down, careful my knees didn’t touch the razor-like mulch. I took a couple of deep breaths. Then, using all my strength, which isn’t insignificant, I pullllllled on that sucker like there was no tomorrow. For reasons I’ll never understand, the imposing root, which resembled a small stick and seemed quite attached, popped off easily and immediately.

The sheer centrifugal force knocked me backward, slamming my body down hard against Mother Earth. I’m sure it looked like something you’d see on America’s Funniest Home Videos. I’m still surprised that I didn’t do a backward somersault.

“Oh, no! What can I do?” Cathy asked, trying hard not to laugh.

“Well, for starters, you could help get me up OUTTA HERE!” I said, sprawled flat out in the flowerbed. But in order for her to help me, I had to try to meet her half way. Either that, or a gurney would be needed.

I carefully rubbed my hands together to brush off the mulch, a million tiny potential splinters just dying to stick in me. Then I managed to get myself into a squatting frog position. Cathy tugged, but I fell backward, laughing. I made it up on the second try, and we rallied excitedly with our prized twig. (Was it just my imagination, or did she in fact search my hand for the plant before searching my body for injuries?)

The next day Russ and I went to church, then brunch, then Walmart whereupon my sweet hubby bought me the kind of gift that warms a gardening gal’s heart: a 125-foot, heavy duty, no tangle garden hose. I’d rather have that than jewelry, honey — in the summertime, that is, when I’m actively gardening. In the winter, I’d prefer a Caribbean cruise and a nice piece of jewelry before debarkation.

We came home and Russ hooked up my hose, which I used to water all my new plants — a Japanese fatsia, ginger lilies and Mexican petunias from Cathy’s yard. Next I went to the grocery store, came home and cooked dinner. All was well.

But about 7:30 that night, an inexplicable, mysterious pain came over me that intensified with each breath — a crippling burning in my chest, under my arms, my ribs and back. It was excruciating. Since I’m a former medical transcriptionist, I know how doctors rate pain: 1–10. Mine was 100!

Twenty-four hours later, I’m on the mend, but not unscathed. You see, I had to tell Russ what happened, which bruised my ego, but at least he didn’t get to see it. The pills that the doc gave me resulted in a 16-hour deep sleep. I’m still sore, but thankfully I didn’t break any bones. Perhaps passion vine is adequately named, because my passion for gardening is still here. In fact, you could say I’m bowled over by it.

– Ann Ipock
Author of Life is Short, But It’s Wide; Life is Short, So Read This Fast; and Life is Short, I wish I Was Taller