Landscape Guy and I got together last week to exchange holiday gifts. He's quite a good giver of gifts; this year, he gave me Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart, which I've been longing to read.
It's odd, isn't it, how some people just do manage to give really meaningful gifts? I suppose that, if I had to pick the best gift that I've ever gotten, it would be a wicker picnic basket that an old love once gave to me. It had these amazing leather straps and pockets inside that held things like wine glasses, and cheese knives, and red gingham napkins. I still have it, and I treasure every picnic to which I've ever taken it. One year, for my birthday, he redecorated my bedroom while I was at work and I'll never forget walking, unaware, into that room and experiencing this huge blast of color. Last holiday season, that lover's lover sent me 100 snowdrop bulbs; that was a pretty good gift and I'm eager to see them bloom in a few weeks. My wonderful DiL once gave me a great book on herb gardens and a gift certificate to Burpees: a perfect gift. One Mother's Day, after we'd had a big argument, Son gave me a beautiful cut-glass keepsake box that still sits on my dresser, and one year when I was so sick from chemo that I wanted to die, he took me to see Showboat at the Kennedy Center and to lunch at what is now Willow. Later, when it looked as if the cancer might have spread to my liver, Son called me every single day to say that he loved me; I still have the voice mails that he left. Those were amazing gifts. But the gift that I remember the most from Son is a big bouquet of flowers that he brought to me from his job just after he graduated from high school and started working. I can still see him, in my mind's eye, through the kitchen window, walking home in his one good suit, carrying that bouquet, bought w/ his first paycheck. T & E once brought me some rose petals from roses stuck on the WH fence during a Mother's Day protest; I used those in a v powerful ritual. I have a decorated pencil from a goody bag that G/Son got at a birthday party to which I took him. In the car, going through the bag, he came to the pencil and said, "Here, Nonna. You can have this pencil." It sits on my desk, in my pencil jar, and I smile every time that I look at it. I have socks and silky scarves given to me by Circle Sisters and I feel warm, and loved, and blessed, and supported every time that I wear them.
Wicked Plants has an interesting chapter, "Dreadful Bouquet", about a gift of flowers:
On July 2, 1881, Charles Julius Guiteau shot President James Garfield. His aim was not quite good enough to kill the president; Garfield lived for eleven weeks as doctors probed his internal organs with unsterilized instruments, searching for the bullet that was actually lodged near his spine. . . . On the morning of his execution [Guiteau's] sister brought him a bouquet of flowers. Prison officials intercepted the bouquet and later discovered that there was enough arsenic tucked between the petals to kill several men. Although his sister denied having poisoned her brother's bouquet, it was well known that Guiteau feared the hangman's noose and would have preferred to die some other way.
Wicked Plants goes on to suggest an arsenic-free bouquet composed of flowers that "would do quite a bit of damage all by themselves": larkspur and delphinium, lily-of-the-valley, bleeding heart, sweet pea, tulips, hyacinth, Peruvian lily, chrysanthemum, and monkshood. They're not all in season at the same time, but if death at my own hand were what I wanted, I'd treasure a gift of that bouquet.
What's the best gift that you ever got or gave?
Update: What Witch wouldn't want THIS????????
Picture found here.