Lifestuff

Saying Goodbye to Melvin Plumer

Today marked the end of a nearly twenty-year relationship with my neighbor, Melvin Plumer. Mel and his wife Mary lived across the street from us in Osterville for many years. Once he and Mary went into assisted living and clearly needed help, another neighbor, Sarah, and I signed on to be their “friends and family plan.” Even those without cell phones, maybe especially those without cell phones, need a network.

Mary died in 2010, and Mel passed away this year, just a few months short of his 100th birthday. You won’t read about Melvin E. Plumer (“One m and no b,” as Mary used to say) in the history books. He didn’t have an obituary in the paper because there wasn’t really anyone who might need notification. So this blog post will be probably be the only public mention of his passing.

Mel loved baseball, and once tried out for the Boston Braves. He was a talented illustrator, but didn’t get much support for those abilities in his youth and went on to spend his adult life working in shipping and receiving departments in the Boston area. He and Mary never owned a car, preferring to take the bus or walk even after they moved to Cape Cod.

Melvin Plumer had a great sense of humor and his eyes sparkled when he found something funny. He idolized his older brothers and treasured the memory of being a youngest son whose greatest pleasure was to sit at the table drawing and talking with his mother as she bustled around the kitchen. He was an unassuming man who took great joy in simple things.

What impressed me about Melvin was that he was completely happy with his life. He didn’t covet a larger house, the latest gadgets, greater wealth or public recognition. He didn’t seem to worry about abilities he lacked or places he hadn’t gone. “I don’t kick,” he’d say to indicate that he wasn’t a complainer. But to me, this was a statement that he was totally content with things just as they were in the present moment. A very Zen attitude, even though Mel would’ve had no idea what I was talking about if I’d mentioned that to him.

Sometimes we’re blessed with opportunities to plant and harvest in areas we never intended garden. Sarah and I laid Melvin to rest in Somersworth, NH today and we both felt like we’d ingathered more than we’d sown.

Here is Mel feeling pleased as punch that we were out for lunch at Friendly's celebrating his 93rd birthday.

Here is Mel feeling pleased as punch that we were out for lunch at Friendly’s celebrating his 93rd birthday.

Mary and Melvin were as delighted with a tuna melt and a cup of coffee as they would have been with dinner at the Four Seasons. It was a happy occasion, and they were together...that was all that mattered.

Mary and Melvin were as delighted with a tuna melt and a cup of coffee as they would have been with dinner at the Four Seasons. It was a happy occasion, and they were together…that was all that mattered.

Sarah and I laid Melvin to rest next to Mary in the Greek Cemetery in Somersworth, NH. A member of the Greek Cemetery association was kind enough to keep us company as we accepted Mel's veteran's flag and said our words of farewell.

Sarah and I laid Melvin to rest next to Mary in the Greek Cemetery in Somersworth, NH. A member of the Greek Cemetery association was kind enough to keep us company as we accepted Mel’s veteran’s flag and said our words of farewell.

Gardens

Why Don’t My Daffodils Bloom Anymore?

This photo shows several daffodils growing in one of my beds. You can see that some of them are thick and thriving, while a couple of them are thin and spindly. Since this was a daffodil collection, not all one variety, I can only assume that the thinner ones have different genetics that don't make them as suitable for naturalizing. OR, maybe there's something going on under the ground that I can't see?

I’ve spoken to several people who have that question. Most of them planted daffodils with the expectation that these bulbs would multiply and flower well for years. But instead of the “host of golden daffodils” recounted in Wordsworth’s poem, they end up with a few scraggly stems and no flowers at all. “What happened?” they

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Love This!

I Love Hemerocallis ‘Endless Heart’

early_bird_cardinal

Name: Hemerocallis ‘Endless Heart’ aka the Earlybird Cardinal daylily

Type of Plant: We love daylilies because they are so reliable and fairly easy. This one is low growing with flowers that get 20 to 22” high. Hardy in Zones 4-9, this daylily flowers in mid-June in the Northeast and Upper Midwest, earlier in warmer, Southern

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Gardens

Underperforming Plants...Bye!

So long, Larry, Moe and Curly!  I'd say it wasn't you, it was me, but that wouldn't be the truth. It was you.

There are times in every garden when it’s time to say goodbye. When a plant is dead this isn’t difficult, but many people have trouble saying farewell just because the plant isn’t up to snuff. There are times, however, when it’s time to be honest and admit that it’s not worth staying in a relationship with a

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Lifestuff

Warmth, Competence, and Growing a Business

An invitation from Moss Mountain and P. Allen Smith.

I remember a time when I was a young adult and the art work I was doing wasn’t going smoothly. I spoke to fellow artists about it, and my friend Lila said something very wise. She told me to surround myself with beauty and creativity and to look at as many wonderful things as possible. “All

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Food

Filling Veggie Main Dish Under 250 Calories

You could add some sort of cheese to these but they really don't need it. One is a filling meal along with a salad.

My goal with this dish was to make a main dish that was filling and flavorful but low-fat and low-cal but as satisfying as meat. Mission accomplished.

4 large portobello mushroom caps 4 small zucchini squash 1 small can white/great northern beans 2 cloves garlic 1/3 cup chopped chives or scallions 1 to 2 Tablespoons low-sodium

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