The Plant

Gus the Cat loves chewing on the Neanthe Bella palm in the living room after dinner. Unfortunately, he’s gnawed this one down to stems and Lowe’s hasn’t had a new shipment in weeks. I know because I go in every week and walk the nursery aisles, searching for the plant.

No joy, but since I’m in the store, and the holiday decorations are right there, I walk those aisles too. I shudder at the tacky choices of giant blow-up characters. I make myself put down the red metal sleigh cut-out covered in jangly bells that hangs on the front door – I love jangly bells.

I scan the shelving over my head that displays the big outdoor items involving lots of wire shapes covered in LED lights. No to the penguin smiling perpetually. No to the pig with a red Santa hat. No to – wait – what’s that? A four-foot high tree, like a small oak with bare branches in winter (made of plastic-coated metal, but still) wrapped in round, cheery-looking lights each the size of a cherry. Delightful. The last one. On sale. And an additional 10% display discount.

Since installing it (it’s adorable lit up on my little front porch), I’ve gone back to Lowe’s for Gus’s plant, and have added an outdoor timer so the tree lights are shining brightly when I arrive home from work, and to hide the base of the tree with its metal screws and electrical plugs I bought a roll of red holiday netting. Given many more outings I’ll have added gift-wrapped boxes, fake snow, and a nativity scene.

I hope the order of Neanthe palms arrives soon.