My little orange watering can doesn’t look like much of a watering can at first glance.
It’s small and rusty on the inside, with a few dents on the outside. But that’s okay because I don’t use it for watering plants.
I use it for remembering.
Like rubbing Aladdin’s lamp to make a wish, I can hold my little orange watering can and be magically transported back to another time and place, to my grandmother’s house in the late 1960’s.
It has this magical affect because this little orange watering can was once Grandma's watering can and around the time she passed away in 1972, someone gave it to me. Or maybe I saw it when my Mom and my aunt were cleaning out all the stuff Grandma had accumulated after living for 50 years in the same house, and I asked if I could have it.
Either way, given or taken, it came to be my little orange watering can.
My little orange watering can reminds me of African violets, because my Grandma had African violets, lined up in her dining room window. She probably never bought any of them, but instead rooted them from leaf cuttings she got from friends and relatives.
I used to have some African violets, too, but sadly, after years of battling a mealybug infestation, I finally had to take the drastic step of throwing them all out earlier this fall. I wouldn’t wish a mealybug infestation on my worst enemy!
Now that I think I’ve gotten rid of those little cottony beasts, I want to get some more African violets this winter, but not too many. But instead of buying them, I want to start my new African violets the old-fashioned way, from leaf cuttings, like my Grandma would have done. And maybe I’ll water them once or twice with my little orange watering can.
In addition to helping me remember to always have a few African violets, my little orange watering can also helps me remember the flowers and trees in my Grandma’s back yard. I remember the long ‘cigar like’ seed pods of the catalpa tree and wanting to always take some home with us. I remember overhearing Grandma talk about possibly getting into trouble because of the big ‘stink tree’ growing back by the alley, since it was supposedly illegal to knowingly grow them in the city.
I remember going to visit her on Sundays in the spring and picking bouquets of Lily of the Valley and wild violets, which she put in little vases on her dining room buffet. She had other flowers, too, like spiderworts, mums, and money plants, that were easily shared as passalong plants.
And I remember there was a large snowball bush in her back yard that was always white with large balls of blooms in the spring and some old fashioned spirea that bloomed by the front porch and a place in the back where there had once been a small fish pond…
Now do you see why I keep my little orange watering can?