a little something extra

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

the annual amaryllis

A brief break from the spiritual stuff, to describe a delightful little holiday tradition that has grown up in my family.

Once the nest was well and truly empty (and with five kids, that takes a while!) my parents started sending a set of gifts out to the children just after Thanksgiving. "Advent gifts," they called them, keeping with the Roman Catholic seasonal calendar that marks the four weeks leading to Christmas. Never mind that we'd all just seen each other for Thanksgiving; the Advent gifts were always sent to our homes, wherever they might be.

For the first several years, the Advent gift was a five-gallon tin of gourmet popcorn. Already popped, that is. Five gallons of unpopped popcorn would make an almost unimaginable volume once it was popped! The tin was always beautifully decorated, and the popcorn was always delicious -- "plain" flavor (that is butter and salt and nothing else), cheddar flavor or toffee flavor, which was my personal temptation.

However, several of us lived alone, and five gallons of popcorn is a lot for a single person to get through even over the full four weeks of Advent. I would always open mine at home, but started taking most of the contents to whatever theatre employed me at the time. Actors can be pretty much universally relied on to snarf up whatever you put in front of them, so my popcorn found its way to good homes inside the casts of A Christmas Carol. Even when Joemybro moved in with me and we made our popcorn a joint effort, most of it still went to the actors.

A couple of years ago, though, there was no popcorn. Instead a much smaller shipping carton appeared on my doorstep. Inside I found a large bulb in a small pot, with instructions for its care and feeding. Amaryllis!

It must be acknowledged that I am no gardener. Neither thumb is green. Not even a little bit. My amarylli always bloomed... but they also always fell over. I have yet to have a bulb make it through the year to the point where I would supposedly "winter" it, then wake it up to bloom again.

But yesterday, this year's annual amaryllis arrived. And hope, like Christmas, appeared on the horizon again. We'll see what color blooms arise from the red tin pot now ensconced on my table.


At 10:48 AM , Blogger Colleen said...

Okay, every year, I have just left the damn bulb alone from after Christmas until the next year's bulb arrives, then I add water and have had re-blooming. Maybe that would work?

At 10:51 AM , Blogger Colleen said...

p.s. Mom I love my bulbs, I didn't mean to damn them.

At 9:07 AM , Blogger meeegan said...

Sounds promising. I'll try it!

At 8:08 PM , Blogger Quev said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8:09 PM , Blogger Quev said...

What a lovely tradition. Your family is very cool.

At 7:49 AM , Blogger meeegan said...

I agree. I think I'll keep 'em. :-)


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