3/9/11

The funny farm. (One more time)


Today would have been my mother's 75th birthday. And while she left this earth before she reached the age of fifty, she's been spending the last 25 years sitting comfortably in the hearts of her three children. Today I plan on frying some cabbage, shopping at the Goodwill, and pretending to do 100 sit-ups all in her honor.

(I am reposting this. You'll see why. )



There are many things that my sister and I have in common, and one of them is our love of flowers. I’m sure it’s because our mother adored her garden, and spent many hours weeding, planting, rearranging and sculpting her plants. We both do the same now, perhaps because in our hearts we feel it brings us a bit closer to her.

I recently spent a soggy week visiting said sister in her lovely coastal town in Connecticut. From the moment I arrived, she kept insisting that we visit a local nursery she discovered called “The Funny Farm.”

“We HAVE to go to the funny farm! You will love it. It’s just down the road from here – a couple miles.”

“K, I LIVE at the funny farm, why would I want to visit one?”

I could see that she was very excited about this little adventure, and as an avid gardener (whose garden could KICK the Captain’s garden’s ***), I couldn’t wait.

As we drove to the nursery, she told me the story about how this couple originally lived in New York City and would come to their farm on the weekends. This weekend hobby quickly turned into their full time love – and they chucked it all and moved to the farm lock stock and barrel. They acquired several horses, a donkey, a miniature horse, huge dogs, a billion chickens and turned a small pond with a few frogs into an incredible work of art involving HUNDREDS of frogs, including a large granddaddy who frankly scared me to death. (He could not POSSIBLY be real. I feared for my life, people.)

We parked our car and walked among the many plants that were blooming in all their splendid glory. I noticed a woman standing with her back towards us holding a hose, and knew instantly that this was one of the owners. Her black hair was pulled into a ponytail, with a little teased hair peeking out at the top from underneath a silk headband. We approached her, and when she turned around to greet us with a smile my heart stopped.


I found myself frozen, staring into the face of my mother.


My sister introduced us, and I listened as she and my sister chatted – and then I laughed as she shared a funny anecdote about her husband - Bob. (My father’s name…)

I knew she would have a sense of humor.

She gave us a tour of the farm, and we walked and laughed and were genuinely impressed by this amazing combination of nursery/antique shop/petting zoo and frog extravaganza that they’ve managed to create.

When K and I prepared to leave Claudia rushed over with free plants for us (there are amazing people all OVER this country) and one last smile and chuckle before she sent us on our way.


As we pulled out of the driveway I turned to my sister and said, “K!!! I can’t believe it. She looks and acts EXACTLY like mom!!!”


“I know! I know!! I couldn’t WAIT to see your face when you saw her. “


We rode quietly for a few minutes, both of us lost for a time in a sea of memory. Quite a nice, lovely, happy sea.



91 comments:

Captain Dumbass said...

I'm going to ignore your sad and petty insults and just say what an awesome experience for you. Now I'm going to get a cup of coffee and gaze at my wondrous garden of Eden.

Chris said...

This is one of my very favorite posts of yours. The photos are beautiful and I enjoyed every word you wrote. :-) *clapping* and smiling...

Michel said...

That was fab. I loved it! I'm glad you found that place!!!

Under the Influence said...

Isn't wonderful how we find these little slices of heaven?

Michele said...

Lovely gardens, people and experience for you. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Eternally Distracted said...

A heart-warming post that makes me feel all goosey and that all is good in the world. A wonderful experience to read about and testament to your lovely writing style.

dizzblnd said...

That isn't creepy.. that's beautiful. When you said it was your mom.. I forgot for a second... but as you know mysterious things happen for a good reason. Now you can go back anytime and see her and feel great!

The Blue Ridge Gal said...

It is said that everyone has a twin in this world. Sounds as though Claydia was your mother's twin inside and on the outside as well... what a great place K shared with you!

Di
The Blue Ridge Gal

Tortuga said...

What an awesome gift! I have a hunch this won't be your last visit either, now that you've discovered this place. Just watch out for the Megafrog!

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Oh, hon! How strange but lovely.

Kathy said...

Amazing. I'm glad you were able to have that experience and enjoy the "funny farm". How cool!

seriously? said...

What a gift for you...would love to see the GIANT frog. Thanks for sharing. :)

Irish Gumbo said...

(sniff)

You just wrapped my heart in a big ol' ball o' warmth...

Amazing, and so beautiful.

lizspin said...

. . . where life is beautiful all the time. . .

Melissa B. said...

What Superior Snaps...and such a lovely tale! As they say, the Target GC is in the mail-please let me know when you get it, OK? And BTW, please don't forget to visit my Silly Sunday Sweepstakes. Your sense of humor will fit right in!

Lucy Filet (tafka Kylie) said...

That was awesome! I'm so happy you had that moment!

Seeker said...

It's amazing how people can touch your life without realizing it.

Mrs. D said...

Very cool! Did you tell her of the remarkable resemblance?

SkylersDad said...

This is a great post, now you went and made me all weepy...

Suzy said...

You both sound so normal. When my sister and I come back from someplace we talk about who had the worst nose job.

mo.stoneskin said...

That would have freaked me out. You feeling fine after all that?

"incredible work of art involving HUNDREDS of frogs"

I have to say that no art is incredible if frogs are involved. Hideous, slimy creatures.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

You and Suzy need to start TV series on the paranormal.

Angie Ledbetter said...

How flippin' cool is that? So glad you and you sissy had that adventure together.

Alix said...

Alright, I'll admit it... As much as I love your incredible witty sarcastic irreverent snarky brilliant no-holds-barred smartass hilarious posts, these loving tributes grab my heart.

I wish I had the same parent experience you had. My mom and dad are still around, but the relationship? Nothing to write about.

I love you.

rxBambi said...

Love the post. I often see men I have to take a second look at becuase I think they are my dad. Sinc he died 4 years ago it would be quite odd, but I still have to look twice...
I found you thru Ice Queen I think, but I see other names I recognize. I can't wait to read more.

Heatherface said...

Oh wow, that's amazing!

Just B said...

Too cool! Goosebump city for me. I absolutely LOVE stuff like that.

See, Mr. Universe isn't always surfing porn :)

Dana's Brain said...

That's so cool. I always thought my Mom looked a bit like Julie Andrews. Although she didn't have quite the octave range of Julie, she could really carry a tune.

Don't think I'm ever going to get to meet Julie and tell her that though!

AmyK. said...

That was beautiful. I gasped a bit while I was reading. Thank you. Lovely :-).

only a movie said...

Wow. That's so cool, VM. Your sister is so cool.
Thanks for sharing! :-)

Jeanne said...

I read a novel once about a guy who'd lost his wife that alked about "searching behavior" -- the way, when you're grieving for someone, you keep thinking you'll run across them in the subway, or at the market, and it will all turn out to be a big mistake.

I don't know if I'd want to see someone who looked like my mom or not. It's been many years, but I keep thinking about those first few months, when I was still searching, and I'd wake up at night with my ears all wet inside from crying in my sleep.

However, I'm glad you enjoyed your experience. Sounds like you and your sister have much in common.

Mimi Lenox said...

K. I came over here to get my daily (hourly) laugh. I did not come over here to cry.
Damn you! (see how well I've sunk into a sea of cursing?)

When you wrote "staring into the face of my mother" the hairs on my head literally stood up and I held my breath for the rest of the story (reading your blog is hazardous to my health. I need CPR now)

That is a glorious story that needs to be in a magazine.
You've got the gift, Miss Martini Mom.

Maureen at IslandRoar said...

I never comment cuz you always have soo many, but this post touched my heart.
Thank you.

kel said...

I have stopped by here in awhile, and then when I do I read this post and I remember why you have over 800 followers. Beautiful post!

Oz Girl said...

Awesome post, and gaw, I wish I could visit that place, it just looks too cool. I love gardening places; they're like giant toy stores for me!

I did have to make a lil detour and visit the post about your mom - 48 is far too young to depart this earth. That post brought tears to my eyes...

Mouthy Housewife said...

They sound like an amazing couple and if she is just like your mom well then you and your sister were very lucky

Jessica - TMH

Mags said...

WOW...that's wild!!! Now you have a must-see place whenever you visit your sister!

Stesha said...

Memories of mom. I love it!

Hugs and Mocha,
Stesha

LPC said...

I have an award up for you today...

Fancy Schmancy said...

Wow, your mom must be an amazing woman to keep sending you and your sister such strong signs! I just got a little teary.

Gaston Studio said...

Late jumping in here but I totally agree with Chris that this is one of my favorite posts of yours... the whole package. Fantastic!

Nicole said...

I LOVED THIS POST!!!!

manker said...

well I am an identical twin... so this really hit home:) Thanx
gp

Sue said...

Life takes us on strange but meaningful paths when we least expect it! When your parents are gone, you see them in different places, or at least I do. My dad use to love to drive and when the dementia/Alzheimer stuff got bad I had to take his car away, then he managed to go buy a cheap second car I took away and then turned him into the DMV! He was such an ass back then. The good part is I sit out by my pool sometimes in the evening with my ipod & Corona, and in the sky they are like missles or something that leave streaks of white behind them. I always think its my dad driving my mom around in heaven and they are both smiling. We need those "moments" in our lives to keep moving forward. Wonderful story, thanks! Sue

Anna See said...

Oh my goodness. What a gift this was for you. I'm so glad she had the looks AND the personality. I'd hate it if she acted like a jerk.What a great post.

blognut said...

I'm so glad you found this place. I'll bet you go back every time you visit your sister.

:)

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

What a wonderful story! I hope you can visit the Funny Farm often.

Jessica said...

That is so neat! Thanks for sharing the story.

Bill and Lauren said...

great story . i have enjoyed reading ALL of your blog entries. i hope that you publish a book one day. i would buy it. and recommend it to all my friends.

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

That flower farm looks charming -- wish I could stop by. And I'm glad to hear it was a nice sea you floated on for a while, after you saw your mom's face. I don't see my grandfather's face very often, but I sure hear is voice a lot.

Pastor Sharon said...

Oh wow! What a lovely experience! This must have been a day of interesting emotions, happy, sad, surreal. . . and I am so glad you got to experience this with your sister!

phd in yogurtry said...

And your sister let it be a surprise. She rocks!

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

That is nuts-- wow, how surreal!

Laura said...

My thoughts too phd in yogurtry. It is nice your sister could keep it a secret for you.

Voka Logic xx

WeaselMomma said...

Wow. You sure are having a lot of Twilight Zone Moments lately.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog AD!!! I'm glad mom brought u there! I've yet to go with her.Come visit again! Xoxoxo AB

Yvonne said...

a touching story. Makes me want to take a road trip. I too, love flowers.

laughingwolf said...

incredible tale... and coincidences!

The Peach Tart said...

What a fab experience. Gives me chills. In a good way.

Julie said...

Wow, very interesting story. I hope the look on your face was exactly what your sister hoped for!

Frau said...

OMG I have goose bumps! What a amazing story.

buffalodick said...

MOSt people who look like anyone from my family is in a "funny farm" already!

Ivanhoe said...

Wow, Vodka! That was pretty cool :o)

Craig Glenn said...

what a great post! Thank you for sharing that story. I used to spend a large amount of time reading news stories looking for humanity, hoping it still existed. I have found that it does through the world of blogging and I am a richer person for having discovered yours.

Craig Glenn

Desert Songbird said...

As much as I miss my mother, I'm not sure how I would react to someone who looked and acted like my mother. Maybe a bit nervous or uptight. My mom had that effect on me at times.

slouchy said...

So happy that you got to have such a heartwarming experience.

Fragrant Liar said...

How amazing. I can imagine what a shock it must have been. And so weird that her husband's name was same as your dad. Freaky deaky, and so awesome at the same time.

Beth Kephart said...

I, too, find this post to be one of your very best ever. Full of heart and hope and beautifully done.

Mango Girl said...

Ditto to all of the above...

Fabulous post!

Magpie said...

Clearly you have a wonderful relationship with your sister. Nice.

Joanie said...

How wonderful to find an angel with a gift of gab and a green thumb to give you a bit of peace. A nice, lovely, happy sea...

Da Goddess
dagoddess.com

AS Amber said...

Very cool. Your sister is just as awesome as you are. I can just imagine how excited she was to watch you see that woman.

Such a neat story.

BJ_Mama said...

What a crazy experience....I would have wet myself a little, but I'm happy you kept it together better than that. Wonderful Story...Happy SITS Saturday!

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Elaine said...

Lovely. Again. And happy birthday AB.

Mrs. E said...

Gave me chills. Seriously.

Anna See said...

LOVE this post. Hugs to you on your Mom's bday.

luckeyfrog said...

One summer when I was in high school, I babysat for a family from my church. Their dad didn't look JUST like my dad or anything, but the resemblance was enough that when he got home in the evenings and the kids ran to greet him, I had to fight tearing up. Every day.

Amazing how certain people can bring back that rush of emotion and love for our parents.

Pastor Sharon said...

I loved this one the first time around. Thanks for sharing it again. Happy Birthday to your guardian angel! 75 years old. Mine would be 65 this year on March 21st.

She's still keeping the African Violet looking well, along with making sure what you need is in the closets (LOL), and holding you when you need her.

Hugs sweet friends. This is a big birthday! Love you.

Polish Mama on the Prairie said...

How sweet! I love fried cabbage as well...

I'm sorry to hear she passed. Reading this, I forgot she had for a moment as well.

My husband's grandmother passed away last year and right afterwards a woman who looked and sounded exactly like her kept being spotted by us all in our town, it was strange.

Loved this post.

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