My grandfather used to say, “When you see a wisteria bush growing outside a house, there is usually a crazy old lady living inside.” We’d laugh and as a little girl I vowed I would never get such a plant. It had only been a few short years since I had nearly poisoned my sister Lisa with the pods that form after the flowers bloom in the early days of summer. We were playing “house” in our sandbox that was just a few short steps from the back door of our actual home. I was around 5 and she 3 when we decided to make “pretend” soup using whatever was in the yard. The pods were perfect as were the beans inside when broken apart. What no one realized until later was that those pods are highly poisonous. Lisa had eaten an apple and didn’t wash her hands after touching the pods. Hours later, her throat closed up and her face became puffed and distorted. She looked a bit dire there and I remember the panic my mother was in when it was decided to rush Lisa to the hospital. My memory goes blank after that moment but I do suffer a bit of guilt for no sound reason at all. At the hospital, they figured out what had happened and we were never allowed to make “pretend” soup again.
Fast forward 45 years and the guilt has settled into mere knowledge. The fear of what others think of me doesn’t strongly dictate what I do or don’t do as it once did. I’ve also come to terms with the fact that I love the look of a wisteria climbing up the side of a house. When I buy my home, I’m going to plant one in my yard if there isn’t one there already. As the roots take hold outside, I will kick back and let nature take it’s course. Yes, let the cards fall where they may and if it means I become a crazy old lady – so be it!