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The Hard Truth About Selfishness

When I drive out of the Costco parking lot for the obligatory suburban snack run, I often see these lawn signs that proclaim: We Buy Houses! Call Now! or LANDSCAPING AND DECK WASHING!! I kind of wonder how those two things go together, but that’s a different topic. Still, the signs grab my attention and makes me wonder, just who the hell calls these numbers? Do the poster of these signs make money this way? Are they satisfied with the clients who call the hand-drawn numbers looking for the easy way to solve a problem? More importantly, are the clients happy with the work?

Kathy, a dear friend with whom I quilt, once remarked, “Louise, you do everything the hard way,” when I was trying to get a point on the turkey block just so. “You didn’t just go to college, you went to the Naval Academy. Then you married a Marine and didn’t even live with him for a year after you said I do.”

She has a point. I do find the hard way to do things, but sometimes the hard way is the way to do it. Take removing English Ivy from a landscape. Removing ivy is not rocket science but it is also not for the convictionless. This plant is hands down the greediest, most selfish plant in any landscape, woodland, or flowerbed. It will creep everywhere, claiming the soil, nutrients, and light the way your little brother encroached upon your seat in the back of the sedan on a cross-country road trip. The ivy will keep coming back, too, just like your brother. Thwart him and tell him to go back on his side of the line and he will as long as your mom gives him the hairy eyeball. Once that check is out of sight though, that brat will creep right back over and bother you. If you enjoy that feeling, go ahead and plant selfish ivy.

If however, you find that space and diversity is something you’d like to attain, I encourage you to rip out the ivy. Start clipping at it’s long tendrils, forgo the rowing machine at the gym, engage your core, and pull that selfishness out of your garden.

Sure, you could call that number on the Costco sign, but they won’t get the at the root of the problem. Only those who do things the hard way will.


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