Friday, August 12, 2011

Naked Ladies in Our Yard!

As in the flowers. These flowers are called Naked Ladies. What kind of blog do you think this is?
The first time I heard the name of these flowers was from Norma J, the mother of my friends Sue, Candace and Alona. She said, "Oh look, Naked Ladies!" I thought she was being literal, and of course I had to look, and then learned they were a flower. They're called that because all that comes up is a big pink flower with no leaves. In the winter they are a large pretty clump of green when nothing else is green, then they die and leave a big clump of brown when nothing else is brown, and then these crazy pink flowers sneak up out of nowhere when the garden most needs it. I didn't plant these, the house came with Naked Ladies.

Although I always saw her clothed, Norma J was quite a lady herself. She was a character with a capital C. I met her in my late 20's in Davis, CA and continue to be friends with her offspring. There is a huge list of Norma stories, here are just a few.

Once she was pumping gas, and felt an interesting breezy sensation. She looked down, and there at her ankles was her pair of underwear. What is a lady to do? Well, she very casually kicked them to the side, looked around nonchalantly, and continued to pump her gas. The next customer would have to deal with putting the pieces together of that story.

One of the first things she ever said to me was a criticism of my shoes, but I don't hold it against her. I walked into her house, she took one look at the flat little ballet slipper shoes I had on and said, "Young lady, you need to get yourself some shoes with proper arch support!" Two foot surgeries later, I still hear her voice when I go shoe shopping, and I always look for shoes with "proper arch support." The lady was right.

At a wedding of some friends that Ernst was DJing, the bride and groom had very different tastes in dance music. She wanted to play oldies for her friends, he wanted to play more modern music for the young people. So the music kept getting switched back and forth as both of them went up to make requests. During one of the songs for the young people, Norma marched up and said "Ernst, are you smoking MARIJUANA? What kind of music is this?" She apologized profusely the next day, but we thought it was hilarious. We still use that expression between us, "Ernst, are you smoking MARIJUANA?" when he does something off-kilter.

Ernst dubbed her one of the founding members of the Davis Death on Wheels Club. Once she was visiting a woman in the community, I believe this was in the Napa area. She miscalculated her turn, rammed up onto this woman's yard and took out a small tree. What is a lady to do? Back up, drive away and never return!

Now that I am getting older and bolder, I find myself saying things to perfect strangers and thinking, Oh my, I am turning into Norma J! I was in Trader Joe's and my checker had those ghastly plugs in his earlobes that I could see through to the next checker. What Would Norma Do (WWND)?  I said, "Please tell me you aren't going to make them any bigger than that." He told me you have to have them that big to wear the cool stuff, but he promised me he would not go any bigger. When a Christian (?) youth group was blasting their music during the bar exam and tough looking teenagers were roaming the halls of the Sacramento Convention Center, I marched down Norma style and told the organizers setting up, "This is a Christian event? Wow, I would hate to see what the other groups are like!"

It might be a good idea for me to go and check that all my underwear elastic is nice and tight.