Thursday, March 28, 2013
Garden Club Snub
It's easy to spot the garden clubbers in my neighborhood: these are the women who power walk together in the mornings, shop together for sweater twin sets, and get together for wine and whine once a month under the guise of flowers and the like. Let me be very honest in saying that the snubbing goes both ways: I'm fine with not being included, especially since I don't power walk, I try my best to never, ever rock a pair of khakis, and I prefer to have my wine time be whine-free whenever possible.
When we moved into our house, the woman next door came to introduce herself and to warn me about the garden gals. Apparently, she was cutting grass one morning when two of the women who are the organizers for all things neighborhood stopped her. They informed her that this is Governor's Square, and in Governor's Square, women do not cut grass. My neighbor simply turned to those two busybodies and said, "Well, this one does," and then fired that mower up again. Oh my! Scandal!
We don't get "booed" with little ghost chain letters and candy at Halloween, we aren't invited to the fall pizza party and hayride. Some mornings when I am out walking the dog, I will pass a house whose driveway is littered with SUVs and minivans with magnetic soccer balls on the back and bumper stickers from private schools nearby. And I know: the petal pushers are holding a meeting. Snubbed again.
Fliers went out for the ice cream social on Sunday afternoon (which was technically hosted by the HOA, also known as rose buds plus spouses); the house next door which has been vacant for the last nine months managed to get an invitation, but ours was somehow lost along the way. I can't say it didn't make me smile a Grinch smile and do my best evil laugh when Sunday rolled around and it was 42 degrees and raining. Get yourself two scoops of that with some sprinkles and a cherry on top, ladies.
I am, in general, a joiner and an overachiever to boot, so it may be surprising that I sit this one out. Let me tell you how it all began: with the Unfortunate Outdoor Decorating Contest of 2005. The year before was our first Christmas in our new house, and my mom had helped me decorate so that it was a very Martha Stewart Christmas at the Stancil residence, if I do say so myself. That was 2004, and we came in second place in the contest. I was happy, but again, the overachiever inside me said we could do better.
Christmas 2005 was upon us, and I gussied our house up even better than the year before. Neighbors stopped me left and right to tell me that our house was the best decorated in the neighborhood, and I was excited that this might be the year that first place award (see also: plywood yard sign in the shape of a candle) would be ours. Imagine my surprise when I awoke the morning after the judging to see the sun coming up on a big, white, third place sign. We came in behind a life-size cutout of three Elvises (or is it Elvii?), and another lackluster house with some sort of snowman, snowflake, I don't even remember. I'm being honest and (somewhat) unbiased when I say that we got hosed.
The white candle yard sign declaring our home third place did nothing for my holiday merriment, so I simply removed it from my yard and put it on the side of our house, waiting for the garden club--who had so lovingly bestowed it upon us--to come and pick it up. I got a call from, let's call her Muffy for good measure, the President of that wonderful club at the time, who demanded to know why my sign was not on display. I told her that I preferred not to discuss it, and after a bit of scolding, Muffy insisted I tell her why I did not proudly own that third place award.
I'm not sorry to say that my temper got the better of me and I told President Muffy in no uncertain terms that apparently, the garden club's tastes were vastly different than mine and that I did not feel that their unsightly plywood candle matched my home décor. I told her it could be found alongside my driveway and to please come claim it at her leisure. Sure enough, at dusk, Muffy's station wagon crept into my driveway, headlights off, and her son scampered out, grabbed that sign, and they sped away. Since that incident, I make sure that my house is ablaze with yuletide glory every night of the holiday season, save for the night the garden club's decorating contest is judged. And then, we go dark. Not a single light flickering. The Stancils do not participate--the Stancils don't play those (reindeer) games.
So now you know the truth: I am a rebel, a garden club outsider, a loner in the world of neighborhood flower discussions over lukewarm Chardonnay. I know how their garden grows, and I am thrilled to be a blooming absentee. April showers bring May flowers? I say bring it on.